Australia's Queensland Health has issued an apology after a registered nurse gave a bizarre advice to a woman who called 13 HEALTH, the state government's 24/7 hotline for over-the-phone health advice.
The female patient was suffering severe abdominal pain after her recent surgery and the nurse asked the woman to masturbate under the shower and rub oil on her anus. The Health Department is now investigating the Australian nurse for what she advised the patient, instead of immediately directing the distress caller to the emergency department.
Queensland Health spokesperson said, "We apologize for any distress caused to the patient, which is why we took immediate action including launching an investigation and making direct contact with the patient to follow up and apologize."
The Patient Needed Immediate Help from Healthcare
The hotline, operated by Queensland Health, receives almost 100 calls per day usually. During the Coronavirus pandemic, they receive more calls from concerned people as the hotline is operated 24 hours a day, seven days a week by a team of around 170 nurses.
As per the reports, the staff at the hotline have a minimum of four years of experience as a registered nurse, and they regularly complete training in critical thinking and clinical reasoning. The nurse in question is believed to have five years of experience and currently not working at the hotline service anymore pending the investigation.
The woman, who called 13 HEALTH, had just undergone an operation. She called the hotline late at night as a last resort because of intolerable pain in abdomen. It is a doctor's job to diagnose a patient who is seeking help on the helpline, while the staff is given training and strict guidelines on how to respond to the callers.
Since the hotline service is not an emergency service and does not replace medical consultation, it connects residents of Queensland to registered nurses who can assess patients' symptoms and provide some health information. Through the service, registered nurses also guide the callers to the appropriate level and location of care, rather than diagnosing the cause of the symptoms. But in this case, a bizarre advice to a patient has stunned many.