Sunday, December 25, 2005


A man dying from a brain haemorrhage was forced to wait for hours as Sydney's public hospital system battled to find him a bed and neurosurgeon to treat him. Bernard Pozo died yesterday just 30 minutes after he finally got a bed more than four hours after an ambulance took him to Campbelltown hospital. The 64-year-old collapsed at Campbelltown RSL, was picked up by ambulance officers about 8.50pm on Thursday, arriving at the hospital at 9pm. A CT scan taken showed bleeding in Mr Pozo's brain. But because Campbelltown hospital has no neurosurgeon, Mr Pozo's family were told about 11pm he would have to be transferred to another hospital.

Despite his critical condition, Mr Pozo was rejected from Liverpool and Westmead hospitals because neither had intensive-care beds available. It was 1am before a helicopter was available to transfer Mr Pozo to St George hospital.

Mr Pozo's death comes two years after a Health Care Complaints Commission investigation found serious concerns about the number of deaths and patient care at Campbelltown and Camden hospitals. It also comes after an extra $25million funding was given to NSW Health this financial year to pay for a total of 57 new intensive care beds.

Mr Pozo's son Robert said that from his symptoms it was obvious that his father had suffered a brain aneurism. "He needed urgent care by a neurosurgeon and every hospital was refusing to take him," he said. "It took hours before anyone would agree to take him. "It was a life and death situation and no beds were available. This is a person dying as the health system passed him from one hospital to the next."

Campbelltown hospital doctors yesterday reviewed Mr Pozo's case. Hospital general manager Amanda Larkin said there was "no evidence of unreasonable delay or inadequate care at Campbelltown hospital" for Mr Pozo. "Time is required to ensure any patient is stable for transfer and to make sure appropriate transport is organised," she said. [Let's hope Amanda Larkin has a brain anuerism sometime]



For greatest efficiency, lowest cost and maximum choice, ALL hospitals and health insurance schemes should be privately owned and run -- with government-paid vouchers for the very poor and minimal regulation. Both Australia and Sweden have large private sector health systems with government reimbursement for privately-provided services so can a purely private system with some level of government reimbursement or insurance for the poor be so hard to do?

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