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Woman who lost 11-year-old son at KKH: Horrendous, painful experience … no empathy

She says precious time wasted in locating A&E entrance, hospital needs to relook entire customer experience design

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Singapore — The mother of a sick 11-year-old boy has shared on social media her “horrendous and painful” experience when she took him to the KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH).

In a Facebook post on Wednesday (Sept 16), Ms Juliana Goh wrote that on Aug 24, when her son lost consciousness after complaining of a headache and rapid heartbeat, he was rushed to KKH at 4.35 am.

She wrote: “It was dark and we could not locate the A&E entrance and got to stop at the most prominent lighted entrance of “URGENT O&G CENTER” (Photo 01)”.

FB / Juliana Goh

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Ms Goh added that, even though a nurse reached them quickly, it was still a 1-2 minute run to the Accident & Emergency ward at KKH A&E.

“We later found out that there was a security barrier place in front of the A&E driveway and the entrance of Children A&E was “hidden” by the tentage (Photo 02). Visibility of the entrance is critical, what I know was we lost 2 min of precious time,” she wrote.

FB / Juliana Goh

Ms Goh called the entire experience “horrendous and painful, there was simply no EMPATHY”. She explained that there needed to be a different route just to cater to Intensive-Care Unit (ICU) patients and their caregivers.

She added that even though she and her husband were registered as caregivers, for them to enter the ICU needed a manual override of the system. “There were times, I waited 10 mins. I remembered on 02 Sep at 02:40am when the ICU doc called us back. We rushed back only to find the same situation, panicking the security guard got to use his own access for one of our entries,” she wrote.

Unfortunately, Ms Goh wrote that her son passed on later that evening.

She wrote to KKH, the leading paediatric hospital in Singapore: “I strongly urge you to relook into the entire customer experience design — from the patients, caregivers, docs, nurses, visitors to even the older staff who often seen frantically managing the crowd at the lift lobby. 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,” she wrote.

TISG has reached out to both Ms Goh for comment and clarification.

Responding to TISG’s queries, Mr Alson Goh, Chief Operating Officer, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital said:

KKH offers our deepest condolences to Ms Goh’s family.  We know it is a difficult time.  We had been in touch with her and her family to address their concerns.

On the morning when her family had missed the turn from the main road to the hospital driveway and arrived at our Urgent O&G Centre, our staff was prompt in transferring Ms Goh’s son to the KKH Children’s Emergency (CE) where he was given immediate medical attention, including the subsequent admission to Children’s ICU (CICU).

We deeply appreciate Ms Goh’s feedback.  KKH is taking a review to enhance our directional signage leading into the hospital and around the CE to further facilitate way-finding.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in Singapore, heightened measures have been in place for the safe management of patients and visitors.  All measures, including the visitation policy are in line with existing COVID-19 guidelines. While we had made exceptional provisions to CICU visitation in light of the condition of Ms Goh’s son, we do acknowledge that our communication can be improved.

We would like to thank Ms Goh for taking the time to share her feedback and we continue to remain contactable to render further support to her and her family.”

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