Sunday, February 01, 2009


Three more current news reports below

Amazing public hospital negligence kills man

I reported the bare bones of this story yesterday but now that we have the details below, the case is even more unforgivable

He was a devoted father who loved the outdoors, but in the final days of his life the pain in his head was so great it reduced him to tears. Yesterday the distraught family of 24-year-old Brendan Burns said he had been handed a "death sentence" by an unnamed doctor at Griffith Base Hospital, who discharged him last week after refusing to order a CT scan that might have saved his life.

Mr Burns, a road worker from Hay in the Riverina, had been experiencing debilitating headaches for about a week when he was taken to the local hospital by ambulance on Saturday. A doctor who examined him ordered his transfer from Hay to Griffith Base Hospital for an emergency CT scan. But at 11.30pm that night, Mr Burns' partner Liz Newman received a call to say he had been discharged and that she should pick him up. When she and a friend arrived at the hospital, they were horrified to find him barely conscious. "Brendan didn't even know who we were. He couldn't move. Not even the doctor could wake him - I had to get an orderly to sit him up. He had no control over his bodily functions," Ms Newman said yesterday.

Despite her friend's pleas that he be allowed to stay in hospital, the pair were told to take him home. But just hours after Ms Newman put him to bed, she heard a "horrific noise". "I rushed in and started screaming. I saw this stuff coming out of his mouth. I rolled him on to his side so he wouldn't choke." Mr Burns was rushed back to Griffith Base Hospital and was then flown to Sydney's St Vincent's Hospital, where a CT scan revealed a growth on his spinal cord. "He had hydrocephalitis and the pressure had been so great that it shifted parts of his brain," Ms Newman said. He underwent surgery, but died on Tuesday surrounded by family.

Ms Newman said she had no idea how to explain to the couple's daughter Nadia, 3, that her father wouldn't be coming home. "Brendan never got to say his goodbyes and it's their fault. "My daughter has been robbed of her father. Those doctors can get on with their lives. They don't have to live with a little girl screaming for her dad."


Ambulance could not find man two minutes drive away

They were so bureaucratized that they apparently did not even think of looking up one of those silly old-fashioned paper maps of the locality. And once upon a time, firemen, police and ambulance officers were supposed to a have a good knowledge of their local geography. More silly, oldfashioned ideas, I guess

A heartbroken Brisbane mother has launched legal action over the death of her partner after paramedics took an hour to find him because the address - which had existed for four years - was not in the state's road database. Kylie Bacon, 33, of Chermside, is suing the State Government, Moreton Bay Regional Council and the body corporate of Spinnaker Beach One Community Titles Scheme for unspecified damages for herself, daughter Letitia, 13, and son Owen, who turns three tomorrow. Her partner of seven years Adam Foks, 30, a landscape gardener, died from an asthma attack at a Bribie Island bus stop after dialling 000 on January 25, 2006. Their son, Owen, was born a week later - the day after his father's funeral.

Ms Bacon's claim, filed in the Queensland Supreme Court, states Mr Foks had caught a bus to visit his mother, Sandra Major, in the Sandpiper Court estate on Spinnaker Drive, when he had an attack. Mr Foks called 000 at 5.47pm and gave his mother's address. He collapsed on the nearby footpath, where his mother found him and called another ambulance at 6.06pm. Paramedics arrived at 6.45pm but Mr Foks had died. The claim states the nearest Queensland Ambulance Service station was about two minutes' drive from Spinnaker Drive and Sandpiper Court, which has existed since 2002.

Ms Bacon alleged the Government failed to ensure the State Digital Road Network, administered by the Department of Main Roads and used by the QAS, was kept up to date and accurate. She also alleged the council failed to keep up-to-date records of local roads and inform Main Roads of the existence of Sandpiper Court, and that the estate's body corporate should have also ensured its details were on the network.

Yesterday, Ms Bacon said the family was "broken" and still struggled to deal with their grief and find "stability". "Our lives have been turned upside down and we still haven't found our footing," the sole parent pensioner said. "Owen is the spitting image of his dad. Every night we go out and talk to the stars, where he knows Daddy is watching from heaven. "I stress every day about raising a son without a strong male role model and not being able to teach him things about being a man that a father could." Lawyers for the State Government and regional council declined to comment. Representatives for Spinnaker Beach said the matter was with their solicitors.


Unbelievable public hospital inefficiency

And all because of the Leftist love of centralization and horror at any hint of competition. Only a government could be this insane and wasteful

The Queensland Children's Hospital will deliver just 23 extra overnight beds at a cost of $1.1 billion. That's $47.8 million a bed. Of course I haven't factored in the new building that goes with the beds. And the hospital plan includes 100 or so recliner chairs or "same day" and "short stay" beds not counted in my calculation. Nevertheless, the revelation the new hospital will get 23 extra overnight beds for such an extraordinary pool of money will come as a shock to clinicians and patients - if not Health Minister Stephen Robertson himself.

The details are contained in the latest official figures released by Queensland Health showing there will be 248 overnight beds in the new hospital compared with a combined 225 overnight beds available now at Royal Children's and Mater Children's hospitals. The new hospital will come about with the closure of the Royal Children's and the Mater Children's and the pledge of a "world class" children's hospital adjoining the Mater in the South Brisbane electorate of Premier Anna Bligh.

Specialists already complain the new hospital will have inadequate beds and inadequate space for key departments like gastroenterology and respiratory medicine. Pediatricians have complained that consulting rooms may be too small for patients in wheelchairs. And vital research facilities are in limbo, with no space allocated in the main hospital site. Unless there are research and training facilities, the new "world class" hospital will not attract quality staff. Then there is the problem of an $80 million energy plant - unfunded in the hospital plan.

However, the chief executive of the Queensland Children's Hospital does not believe these problems are insurmountable. Peter Steer believes enhanced pediatric services at other hospitals in the southeast corner will take the heat off the QCH. [Thus defeating the point of the excercise?]

Good luck to Dr Steer. The world needs more optimists. He said the proposed Gold Coast University Hospital and the Sunshine Coast University Hospital would have emergency pediatric and inpatient specialty services. And pediatric services in other hospitals would be increased, he said. "The impact of these enhanced services will reduce the level of secondary service demand at the QCH so that it can operate as a truly tertiary level hospital," he said in response to questions I sent to Mr Robertson. Dr Steer added: "The current proposed total bed numbers at the QCH are considered appropriate to meet the projected demands for the hospital in conjunction with the enhancements to services in surrounding hospitals." Dr Steer said he was too busy to be interviewed face-to-face.

Dr Steer was also quoted as saying: "In addition to the services proposed for the QCH, there is currently work being undertaken to increase pediatric bed numbers for less complex patients who it is envisaged will access services in their local area." He said despite the closure of Royal Children's, Brisbane northside families would have adequate emergency pediatric cover. But he couldn't say where it would be or how much it would cost. "The proposed specialist pediatric emergency department on the northside of Brisbane will include a short-stay unit," he said. "The location of the specialist pediatric emergency department on the northside is being finalised in consultation with clinicians." The new short-stay facility would likely have 20 same-day beds. Dr Steer said funding was still to be announced.

Despite his assurances, Queensland Health bureaucrats say it is a "potentially high-risk strategy" to believe outer-Brisbane hospitals can pick up the slack. An internal report last year warned: "If further beds for QCH cannot be afforded, the only option will be to have strategies in place to enhance secondary level pediatric services at Logan, Redlands, Ipswich and Prince Charles hospitals. "This will require additional capital and recurrent funding for those hospitals and a reprioritisation within the Area Health Service Plans."

Then came the bombshell: "There is currently no capital planning under way for enhancements to emergency departments or pediatric in-patient capacity within the planning time frame for the QCH. The worst-case scenario for QCH is that it is built with too few beds and too small an emergency department on the assumption that these services will be provided elsewhere, and then the required capacity elsewhere is not delivered."


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