Matthew Earl describes the treatment he received at Maitland Hospital for appendicitis as an "appalling debacle".
Mr Earl, 36, was taken to the hospital at lunchtime on Thursday last week suffering abdominal pain, which a CT scan confirmed to be appendicitis.
He had surgery to remove his appendix on Sunday at 5pm, but felt his treatment while he awaited the operation was poor.
"There was a lack of communication," he said.
Mr Earl, who works in the disability sector, felt like the hospital staff generally "didn't seem to care or didn't have the resources to".
"Only two of the nurses introduced themselves to me."
Mr Earl, of Tarro, has Asperger's syndrome and suffers from anxiety and depression.
"I hate not knowing what's going on. It drives me up the wall," he said.
His mum Kris Kelly, of Maryville, said her son "wasn't kept informed about what was happening".
"The journey to surgery was confusing and changing," said Ms Kelly, a nurse with 55 years' experience.
"On Friday they recommended treatment with antibiotics and discharge, with referral to surgery in eight to 12 weeks.
"On Saturday he was recommended for surgery, then told again he was being discharged. Even his nurse wasn't aware of this."
Ms Kelly asked to speak to a doctor because "I didn't want to take him home when he was still in pain".
She asked the surgeon, "What's the gold standard here?"
"He said surgery. Then Matt was back on the surgery list."
On Friday night, she rang her son and asked what he had for dinner.
"He said 'nothing, they won't feed me'. He hadn't had anything since midday on Thursday.
"I rang the ward and said he needs to be fed, he's supposed to be fasting only from midnight.
"A nurse said she couldn't give him anything because the doctor hadn't written it in his file. I blew up."
Ms Kelly said they wanted to speak publicly about Matt's experience because "it wasn't just one small thing, it was continual miscommunication".
This left her wondering "where has the compassion and understanding of specific patient needs gone".
Mr Earl said his time in the hospital was "a debacle", apart from the work of two nurses.
He added that a general surgeon at the hospital told him "only one theatre was operating at the weekend".
He was also told that any emergencies via ambulance meant his surgery would be delayed.
"Maitland is a major hospital for the Upper Hunter," Mr Earl said.
"It felt like unless you're made of money to go to a private hospital, you're not going to get care.
"That's not what Australia was built on. It was built on friendship and camaraderie. Where's that gone?"
Mr Earl was told he could go on Monday morning but didn't get discharged until 10 hours later at 5pm, as his discharge summary hadn't been done.
"We asked for a sick certificate for his work and we're still waiting," Ms Kelly said.
She said Maitland Hospital was a "beautiful new building with mod cons, but it certainly leaves a lot to be desired with its duty of care and communication".
"I was appalled at Matt's treatment."
A Hunter New England Health spokesperson said the district "strives to ensure all patients receive the best possible care and treatment across all our facilities, including Maitland Hospital".
"We are sorry this patient's experience, including our communication, fell below their expectations on this occasion," the spokesperson said.
"While we are unable to comment on specific details of patient care due to privacy, the clinical care provided to this patient was appropriate for their presenting condition.
"We have contacted the patient to apologise and to further discuss their concerns. We have also logged it formally as a complaint, so the feedback can be used to improve care."
The spokesperson said the district had "recently invested significant resources into ensuring the care and treatment provided at Maitland Hospital is timely, safe and comprehensive".
"This includes increased staffing and working towards additional access to surgical theatres to improve surgical wait times.
"However, patients receive surgery in order of clinical priority, which means some patients with less urgent conditions may wait longer during busy times."
The Maitland branch of the NSW Nurses and Midwives' Association rallied outside the hospital last month on their own time, saying they were "fatigued and frustrated by understaffing issues".
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