September 24, 2022

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A 99-year-old grandmother was forced to wait five hours in an emergency department, only to leave and suffer a heart attack the following day.

Perth resident Dora Mileham was given only Panadol when she presented to Joondalup Health Campus with severe pain.

“There is no doubt if we hadn’t hospitalised her she wouldn’t be alive today,” her son Martin Mileham said.

Dora Mileham was only given panadol when she presented to Joondalup Health Campus with severe pain and her son wants answers.
Dora Mileham was only given panadol when she presented to Joondalup Health Campus with severe pain and her son wants answers. (9News)

The grandmother had become unwell weeks after an earlier heart attack.

When she started to suffer severe abdominal pain, her son called triple zero and says he was told an ambulance would take two hours.

He decided instead to drive her to hospital, where the 99-year-was triaged as category three, given Panadol and told to wait in her wheelchair.

The pair waited for nearly five hours before it became too much.

“I went and asked the lady and they came out and said, ‘look it could be another four hours’,” Mr Mileham said.

Mileham said he felt like he had failed his mother.
Mileham said he felt like he had failed his mother. (9News)

“At this stage we’d been there five.

“I said, ‘mum what do you want to do?’ and she said, ‘I’m in agony, take me home, I can’t sit here anymore’.”

The following morning her family tried the private Hollywood Hospital.

The grandmother had a second heart attack hours after her arrival.

North Metropolitan Health said the grandmother was “triaged appropriately according to her symptoms”.

However, her son wants answers as his mother remains in hospital.

“Everybody has a job to do but my question is where does the buck stop,” he said.

Liberal leader David Honey said he believed the situation "is going to get worse".
Liberal leader David Honey said he believed the situation “is going to get worse”. (9News)

A health minster spokesperson told 9News “while some low acuity patients may experience longer than usual waits at EDs at the moment, importantly, patients who need treatment urgently continue to be seen immediately”.

David Honey, the leader of the opposition Liberal party, said he thinks the situation “is going to get worse”.

“Doctors and nurses are getting burnt out.

“The government needs to make a serious commitment.”

Mr Mileham said he felt like he had failed his mother.

“As a man sitting there with your mum, wanting to give her the best you can, you feel like you’ve failed,” he said.

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