Fremantle Hospital pulls together for Alan

A young man in a wheelchair and a woman stand in a hospital theatre with four female theatre staff.
26-year-old Alan and mother Ann came back to visit some of the theatre staff who helped coordinate his care
March 10, 2020

For mum Ann, arranging medical check-ups and procedures for her son living with a disability is no easy task.

With severe epilepsy and autistic tendencies, Alan’s disability means he needs to be under general anaesthetic to allow clinicians to properly perform most medical examinations.

When Alan was scheduled for a dental examination under general anaesthetic at Fremantle Hospital (FH), his Mum took the opportunity to ask if an eye and ear exam could be done at the same time.

Fremantle staff rose to the challenge with waitlist, dental, ENT (ear, nose and throat), audiology, ophthalmology, X-ray, theatres and anaesthetic specialties working together to coordinate for Alan could undergo all examinations in one go.

Theatres Associate Nurse Unit Manager Annie Dixon said there were countless factors to consider in the coordination of Alan’s appointment.

“We had to allow enough time for each exam to take place and in the right order, plus transporting Alan to X-ray and back, all while ensuring he was safely anaesthetised throughout and we weren’t causing too much disruption to other patients,” Annie said.

“It was so inspiring to see us come together as a team to make this journey as trouble-free as possible for an amazing mother and her son.”

Thanks to their efforts, Alan avoided four separate hospital admissions and the risks associated with receiving multiple anaesthetics.

Alan’s mother wrote to the hospital to express her gratitude for the exceptional care and teamwork demonstrated by staff across FH.

“I can only imagine the complexity of the whole coordination, but throughout the process I only received a “can do, or at least try” attitude from staff,” Ann said.

“Alan was treated with dignity and respect and staff were very caring of myself and Alan’s support worker.

“It was such a relief to finally get Alan assessed so we can help him have the best quality of life possible.”

Follow South Metropolitan Health Service on Facebook (external site) and keep up to date with all the latest news at Fremantle Hospital.