Mailbox: Visiting policy poorly handled by hospital

Mailbox: Visiting policy poorly handled by hospital

My family and I are greatly disappointed by the poor handling of patient information at Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH).

Since the first day of my mother's admission into TTSH, we had been informed by the doctors that any number of visitors could visit her at any time, because of the severity of her condition.

However, my family members were repeatedly denied entry outside of normal visiting hours.

On the day my mother passed away, my daughter even asked the receptionist to confirm twice whether we would be allowed to visit outside of normal visiting hours, and the answer was "no", even though we explained that we should be allowed to visit.

We later found out this was because of the staff's failure to update the system to reflect my mother's health status, which we subsequently found out to be "dangerously ill" and "do not resuscitate".

Also, the receptionist did not follow the standard protocol of calling the ward to confirm my mother's status.

After lodging our complaint with senior staff, they mentioned they would investigate and give us a reply within a day - which they failed to do.

The mistake was particularly regretful as we were unable to be with my mother in her last hours, as she passed away during non-visiting hours.

We hope TTSH will look into this grave issue so it will not happen to other families.

Loke Wing Keong

Tan Tock Seng Hospital replies

We offer our deepest condolences to Mr Loke Wing Keong and his family on the loss of their loved one.

The hospital does relax its visitors policy when a patient has very poor prognosis.

This enables family members to visit during non-visiting hours and spend time with the patient.

We deeply regret that this was not carried out properly in the management of visitors for Mr Loke's mother and apologise for the distress caused.

We have reminded our staff to be sensitive to our patients' families in their time of need and will review the system to ensure it does not happen again.

We have contacted Mr Loke's family to address their concerns and offer them support.

Eugene Fidelis Soh (Dr)

Chief Operating Officer

Tan Tock Seng Hospital

This article was first published on Aug 25, 2014.
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