An Australian nurse is under investigation for giving X-rated masturbation advice to a woman who called a hotline in distress.
The patient called Queensland Health's helpline for help as a last resort one night because she was suffering from severe abdominal pain after undergoing major surgery.
Rather than directing her to the emergency department according to protocol, the nurse who answered the phone advised her to masturbate under the shower and rub oil on her anus.
Queensland Health has issued a personal apology to the woman and the health department began investigating the nurse almost immediately after the incident came to their attention, news.com.au reports.
"We apologise for any distress caused to the patient, which is why we took immediate action including launching an investigation and making direct contact with the patient to follow up and apologise," a Queensland Health spokeswoman told media.
The 13 Health hotline is 24/7 and receives about 100 calls a day, which are answered by 170 registered nurses, all of whom must have at least four years' experience.
The nurse in question, who is understood to not currently be working, reportedly has five years' experience.
Only doctors are permitted to diagnose patients who call the hotline and staff are given strict instructions on how to respond to callers, which generally means directing them to emergency services rather than suggesting home remedies.
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The hotline is not an emergency service and is not recommended as a replacement for in-person medical consultation.
It can provide patients with referral to other healthcare providers in Queensland, guiding them to the appropriate level and location of care with nurses estimating "symptom urgency, rather than diagnose the cause of the symptoms".
An investigation into the incident is currently underway.
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