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Canberra Hospital – They’ll let you wait… until you die.

By Jonathon Reynolds - 7 October 2007 54

The Canberra Times has the headlines today “Wait ends in death“. It appears that a 30 year old male who went to Canberra Hospital was triaged as Category 3 status, and told to take a seat. There were a number of cases ahead of him, and he ended up having a heart attack in his seat whilst he was waiting.The article goes on to say that once it was recognised that he had suffered a cardiac arrest he was resuscitated and moved to intensive care where he later died.

Simon Corbell (the acting Health Minister) is quick in immediately trying to absolve the Government of any responsibility. But lets face it this is a Stanhopian typical tact, when is the Stanhope government ever responsible when things are not going well? I am sure they are going to try and blame the Feds for this problem too!

The ABC Online is also covering the story stating the even the nurses through their union are indicating that problems need to be fixed.

My thoughts and condolences go out the the man’s family, but surely people presenting to A+E should be under observation even if they are waiting their turn to be seen.

I am sure had his cardiac arrest been picked up earlier he would have had a much greater chance of survival – the longer it takes to respond to a heart attack the more severe the damage will be. Refer to this article from The Medical Journal of Australia

[Ed. ABC online has some updates with the public being urged not to overreact and news of futher investigations.]

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54 Responses to
Canberra Hospital – They’ll let you wait… until you die.
sepi 8:46 pm 07 Oct 07

Well the new job networks are pretty much of a dud
So I wouldn’t hold that up as the great new way forward.

It’s all very well to say ‘they lose the contract and put it out to tender again’ but with the shortage of medical staff, and the rising costs, you’d probably find noone would tender. and what would happen during the changeover period, once the incumbents knew they were out – it just wouldn’t work.

thetruth 8:40 pm 07 Oct 07

Sorry — but neither of the parties are talking about privatisation – Dr Evil and mini me would never suggest such radical reform.

I anm saying put it under the control of the jurisdiction that has the responsibility for health ie the states then tender out the management and sevices. THEN manage the contract (not the ins and outs) so government should provide the health funding and monitor performance – both things it does well. If a person miscarries in a toilet then the contract is voided and it is put out to tender again (ie they loose the contract).

If someone miscarries in toilet now Iemma points at everyone but himself. Just like Stanhope will point at the Commonwealth for this one. At least Beattie canned his health minister (who ended up being charged for corruption).

Some times sarced cows make the best burgers – time to stop assuming that Government is the best provider of public health services. Kinda like the old CES being the best provider of employment services went by the wayside.

PEOPLE ARE DYING BY THE PUBLIC OWNERSHIP, they will not invest nor take responsibility.

lucym 8:06 pm 07 Oct 07

I really feel for the man’s family.

My father had to wait sitting in a wheelchair slumped over pillows (which we had to ask for) in emergency for 5 hours after being taken to a+e by ambulance, followed by another 4 hours in a bed in emergency. During that time he was distressed and uncomfortable and became increasingly dehydrated. He had a room arranged in National Capital but despite some of the nurses suggesting to the triage nurse that he be transferred, she repeatedly refused. I believe she refused because it irked her that he was a private patient – ie it didn’t fit with her politics. He died a week later. I usually send thanks to nurses but I would have liked to send her a later “thanking her” for making one day of his final days so utterly utterly miserable for no reason. In my opinion, it was nothing to do with funding – it was purely to do with ideology.

sepi 7:29 pm 07 Oct 07

The system is a disaster whichever way you look at it.

This is accident and emergency. They are supposed to cope with crises like 30 poisoned school kids, or a major bus crash etc. Yet ours are overloaded way beyond capacity on any Friday night.

Privatising won’t work (Labor plan) – remember John James hospital in the ACT – it went broke.

And running hospitals like a business won’t work either (Liberal plan) – you can only makemoney by cutting some corners, which we don’t want in health.

They need to throw some money at it as a start. I heard on tv that we now have nearly twice as many people per hospital as we used to twenty years ago – no wonder it’s not working.

I-filed 7:18 pm 07 Oct 07

It’s just possible (I’m not saying this is the case) that the man concerned is a speed user, and casualty staff do take a different attitude to people who have self-inflicted their health woes through drug use, such as crackheads.

shauno 6:59 pm 07 Oct 07

Look the amount of money being spent on a bloody prison in the ACT. They should have spent the money on the hospitals not a prison.

thetruth 6:26 pm 07 Oct 07

sicko was made by a person that has very defined political views.

The fact is we have what he wants and people die, bad doctors are hired and people are miscarrying in toilets.

which is sicko?

Face it is is not possible to get good outcomes when no one has anything at stake – and we (the public) have not yet called for Iemma’s head or in this case Stanhope) – the political system is not a good provider of quality outcomes. Pollies have more moves than a snake with a broken back. I cannot wait for the day that someone says its “my fault”.

in a horse race – Always back “self interest” at least you know the horse is trying.

futto 6:11 pm 07 Oct 07

thetruth – so i guess that means you haven’t seen “Sicko” the movie then?

Profits should never be part of a health system. It’s just not possible to get the same outcomes when the bottom line is at stake.

thetruth 5:18 pm 07 Oct 07

Ok time for some controversial thinking.

This occurred (and the general crisis in the health system) because of public ownership.

The socialists and unions are all too happy to blame privatisation when it stuffs up – well here we have anon-privatised sector that is in melt down.

I say privatise and then let contracts for emergency and public health services with performance clauses and penalties. Then at least we know who is responsible. Not like this silly two governments stuff.

Labor is kidding itself if it thinks it will be able to run hospitals – how many hositals will be built in Bass, Eden- Menaro, Kingston (SA) and any other marginal seat under that system??? thetruth is nothing will happen – they will nut out a new agreement with the states and all accounts it will be a success until 4 years when the cracks will show and there will be more bluster (or hopefully for Federal labor the libs will be in the state government and they will be able to blame them).

The libs plan won’t work because each community will want more of this and not less of that and they will crumble over time as well (as it also keeps the two government funding model).

So privatise the management of public hospitals with strict conditions and audits carried out be the public sector (the piblic sector is good at giving money and regulating)

szeretetta 4:53 pm 07 Oct 07

what is the point of an ambulance system, if once you are at hospital they are too busy to see you for 4 hours?

Ambulances are for transportation of seriously people and for the provision of emergency treatment. Once people arrive at the hospital in an ambulance, they are still triaged, the same as people who walk in from the streets. Travelling to ED in an ambulance does not mean you jump the queue.

sepi 4:34 pm 07 Oct 07

I think this is shocking, and it isn’t offensive to the overworked staff to say so. The whole system is a disaster and needs an urgent overhaul and massive money spent on it.

This poor man had arrived by ambulance – what is the point of an ambulance system, if once you are at hospital they are too busy to see you for 4 hours?

Something needs to be done.

Our hospitals and whole medical system is heading for third world standards.

josh 4:27 pm 07 Oct 07

having been to the exact same ward on far-too-many different occasions, i know what it’s like. and there are way too many reasons that it is the way it is (you know, not enough bulk billing, so people end up there as their “free” alternative, etc etc).

in any case, the triage staff are there to do a job. and goddamn, we’re people. they’re people. people make mistakes sometimes.

from memory there are a few signs around suggesting that ‘if you have chest tightness or trouble breathing, let us know asap. don’t just sit there and die, you douche’

tip for the youngsters: blood will get you ahead of the queue more often than not, too. on the flip side, if you can handle some (unobvious) pain, then you probably won’t be seen to in forever. i got in one time inside of 15 minutes, whilst a guy i was sitting next to had been there over twelve hours by that stage.

blah blah blah. yay intarwebs!

el ......VNBerlinaV8 4:04 pm 07 Oct 07

Without sounding like a ‘me too’-er, WMC’s comment about sums it up.

Even more offensive is the fact that Mr Reynolds has apportioned blame to the Stanhope government and Canberra Hospital emergency staff.

Poor form.

virgil99 3:10 pm 07 Oct 07

A “heart attack” is a generic comment…..Doesnt necessarily mean a myocardial infarction which does have a specific treatment. The article shoul dhave state “cardiac arrest”, rather than “heart attack”. There are many causes for an arrest, and once occured the chance of survival is slim.

Woody Mann-Caruso 3:07 pm 07 Oct 07

My thoughts and condolences go out the the man’s family, but surely people presenting to A+E should be under observation even if they are waiting their turn to be seen should make sure they know all the facts before they try to turn a tragic event into a mindless political rant with some shithouse editorialising.

There, fixed that for ya.

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