KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH) said on Tuesday (22 Sept) that it is reviewing ways to enhance its directional signage after a Singaporean woman, whose 11-year-old son has passed away, shared her “horrendous” experience of bringing her late son to the hospital.
The woman, named Juliana Goh, shared in a Facebook post on 16 September that her son experienced headache and increased heart rate before losing consciousness in the middle of the night on 24 August.
She immediately brought him to the KKH for treatment and arrived there at around 4.35am.
As they couldn’t locate the Accident and Emergency (A&E) entrance, they stopped at the Urgent Obstetrics and Gynaecology Centre (UOGC) which had “the most prominent lighted entrance”.
UOGC is a 24-hour walk-in centre for women with critical obstetric and gynaecological conditions.
A nurse then came and placed her unconscious son onto a wheelchair. Mrs Goh described the nurse was “running as fast as she could” to bring her son to the A&E which took about one or two minutes.
“Visibility of the entrance is critical,” she said, adding that they lost “two minutes of precious time” from not being able to find the A&E entrance.
There was a security barrier placed in front of the driveaway leading to the A&E entrance, and a tentage was blocking the entrance to the Children’s Emergency.
When they arrived at the A&E, her son’s pulse could not be located and he had to be resuscitated.
The problems did not stop there, as she noted that the system only allowed one caregiver per patient in the ICU at a time and that it required a manual override of the system. Mrs Goh claimed that the process took quite some time as she had to wait for 10 minutes at times.
Describing the whole experience as “horrendous and painful”, she noted that there was “simply no EMPATHY” in the customer experience.
Mrs Goh recalled when her son was warded in the ICU, the ICU doctor called them back at 2.40am on 2 September but they were unable to enter the ICU and had to ask the security guard for help.
“The security guard got to use his own access for one of our entries,” she stated.
Her son passed away later that evening.
“Every second count[s],” she wrote. “I do not wish for other caregivers to encounter similar painful experiences while they are already worried about their loved ones.”
“The least we as caregivers could ask for is EMPATHY.”
Mrs Goh’s Facebook post has either been removed or made private.
Meanwhile, Yahoo News reported on Tuesday (22 Sept) that KKH has responded to the matter and said it has reached out to Mrs Goh’s family with regards to her post.
“KKH is taking a review to enhance our directional signage leading into the hospital and around the Children’s Emergency (CE) to further facilitate way-finding,” the Chief Operating Officer of KKH, Alson Goh, said in a statement yesterday.
The spokesperson from KKH explained that the barrier and tentage were meant to heighten measures for the safe management of patients and visitors amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“All measures, including the visitation policy are in line with existing COVID-19 guidelines.
“While we had made exceptional provisions to Children’s ICU (CICU) visitation in light of the condition of Ms Goh’s son, we do acknowledge that our communication can be improved,” he noted.