Saturday, September 29, 2007

Australia: Another mother miscarries after being ignored by NSW government hospital

Two babies lost in one night

A SYDNEY mother has spoken of the harrowing ordeal of being shunned by nurses at Royal North Shore Hospital while miscarrying - just minutes after a 14-week pregnant Jana Horska miscarried in the waiting-room toilet. The shocking revelation follows a string of horror stories emerging from the hospital, which has been labelled one of the worst in Sydney. The Daily Telegraph can reveal that on the same night Ms Horska miscarried in the emergency department's toilet, another expectant mother was also forced to wait while miscarrying.

Leng Liu and her husband Steve arrived at the hospital emergency ward on Tuesday night not realising the horrific circumstances that had just unfolded only minutes earlier. In acute pain and eight weeks pregnant, Ms Liu, 46, of Chatswood was seen by a nurse at 9.30pm and despite bleeding heavily was told to wait her turn. After an agonising two hour wait, Ms Liu's husband asked the triage nurse why his wife had not been admitted. "We were told we needed an ultrasound but that couldn't happen until the next morning," he said. "I decided to take my wife home and that is where she miscarried. "That nurse would have been happy to keep us waiting till God knows when and had we have not gone home we would have lost the baby there in the hospital toilet."

The couple decided to speak publicly after hearing of Ms Horska's ordeal. The 32-year-old from Mosman miscarried in the hospital's toilet after being forced to wait two hours in emergency. The Daily Telegraph has been inundated with horror stories from patients seeking help at the hospital. Just 18 months ago Angi Milos, 30, was handed a nappy and forced to sit in the waiting room while she miscarried. She was 14-weeks pregnant and crippled with pain when she arrived at RNS. After going to the toilet three hours later, she discovered she had lost her baby in the same toilet Ms Horska lost her baby. "I thought I had been just left there to bleed," she said yesterday. "They could have showed a little bit of compassion."

The State Government is refusing to hold a full investigation into the hospital, instead calling for an inquiry only into Ms Horska's ordeal. In Parliament yesterday, Health Minister Reba Meagher defended her decision not to fully investigate RNS. The hospital's director of trauma Tony Joseph also hit the airwaves yesterday to defend his staff. He said Ms Horska's miscarriage could have happened "in any emergency department in this city, in this state and in this country".

"I feel extreme sympathy for the lady ... and I apologise on behalf of the health system for what has occurred but for us working in emergency it's actually not surprising that this would happen," Dr Joseph said. Dr Joseph refused to apologise on behalf of the hospital, instead blaming a lack of government funding. "We've been telling governments of various levels of this problem for a number of years and we don't see much solution for it," he said.

Ms Meagher's refusal to launch a full investigation outraged Therese McKay, whose husband Don died last May as a result of appalling conditions at RNS. Mr Mackay died the day he left Royal North Shore after being admitted a month earlier for what should have been a routine operation to have his lungs drained. Instead he was exposed to third world conditions and mistakes such as having his breathing monitor switched off. Mrs McKay and her daughter Melissa flew from their Port Macquarie home to confront Ms Meagher. She described Ms Meagher's response to her presence in Parliament as "disgusting".


The class-war mentality behind the baby deaths

A FORMER senior doctor at Royal North Shore Hospital whose budget was slashed just before a state election says she was told people living in that area could afford to pay more. Dr Linda Dayan, who worked in the hospital's sexual health department for 11 years, said the cutbacks cost her her job. "Last year we had a massive budget cut in our area which was to halve the budget in two years," Dr Dayan told ABC Radio today.

"I called a meeting at the end of last year to speak with the deputy CEO and the woman who was directly under her ... to ask them why our budget was being halved," she said. "One of the women in the meeting said ... 'The new redistribution formula takes into account socio-economic class so everything has been cut in this area.' "She said, 'People in this area can afford to pay more'." [The North Shore is a generally affluent area of Sydney but not everybody who lives there is rich. So why should poorer people living there be discriminated against because some of their neighbouirs can and do use private hospitals? Is it to punish people for living in a somewhat nicer area? It probably is. Leftists think that only they deserve to live the good life. Witness the special treatment given to the "Nomenklatura" in the former USSR]

Dr Dayan, who now works in private practice, has called for a public inquiry into hospital funding. "I wonder if it was part of a political agenda as well - we were coming up to a state election and I was also told ... that maybe they didn't need votes in that area," Dr Dayan told Macquarie Radio shortly after speaking on ABC radio. "Things started to go from bad to worse. (The hospital) couldn't get new positions filled ... and at the last minute before the election those positions were filled so it looked on paper as if there new staff coming on board."

Services at Royal North Shore Hospital have come under the spotlight this week after a 14 weeks pregnant woman went without treatment for two hours and had a miscarriage in the emergency department toilets on Tuesday. Jana Horska was left holding her live foetus in the toilet, sparking outrage among medical groups and the community generally .

Dr Dayan spoke specifically about funding for the hospital's sexual health clinic, but said she was told there was an intention to cut budgets across all services. "Our figures were exactly the same as Western Sydney - they had $4 million, we were slashed to $2 million," she said. "Our figures were the same, our need was the same and yet the figures weren't taken into account. "I was told by an unnamed source that the guts of it was they had to cut $20 million of the budget."

A spokesman for NSW Health Minister Reba Meagher said hospital funding followed strict guidelines set out in the Australian Health Care Agreement, providing equal access to services regardless of where people lived. [Sounds like a barefaced lie]


Doctor vetting blasted

AUSTRALIANS can't trust medical authorities to hire properly trained doctors, according to Federal Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews. Mr Andrews has made the claim while requesting the Medical Board of Queensland review its procedures for hiring overseas trained doctors. He has insisted on "stringent employment verification checks" before new doctors are employed.

Gold Coast doctor Mohammed Asif Ali was sacked last month for disgraceful conduct after lying on his resume about his medical credentials. In a letter to chair of the Medical Board of Queensland, Dr Erica Mary Cohn, Mr Andrews doesn't refer to the sacking directly. But he says "a recent case" had highlighted to the Australian Government the risk to Australians' quality of health care through "inconsistent registration processes across different jurisdictions".

Mr Andrews also refers to "less than thorough" employment vetting processes. "In order for Australians to have confidence in their overseas trained doctors, they need to have full confidence that these doctors have undergone a rigorous assessment process," he said. "Given this case, I do not believe that Australians can be fully confident in the assessment system that currently exists."

Mr Andrews said the Council of Australian Governments had implemented a new national system for registration of health professionals and the accreditation of their training, to be operational by July 2008. "Until this process is complete, I believe it would be beneficial to review the processes by which employment backgrounds and qualifications of overseas trained doctors are assessed," he said. "As part of this review, I am seeking your assurances that the Medical Board of Queensland is undertaking the most stringent employment verification checks and qualification assessments in order to ensure the integrity of this program."


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