A 72-year-old Invermay man with prostate cancer and type 2 diabetes was placed in a wheelchair in a Launceston General Hospital waiting room on Wednesday, while staff scrambled for nine hours to find a bed for him.
It’s left Philip Scott’s family feeling dismayed at the state of the hospital.
His daughter Angela Viven, 39, of Mowbray, said her father arrived at the LGH in an ambulance about 8am. But she said it wasn’t until 5.15pm that he got a bed.
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Mr Scott’s experience comes a week after 22 emergency registrars at the LGH wrote a letter to the Tasmanian Health Service, lamenting the apparently unsafe nature of their workplace, which they said was resulting in “unnecessary” deaths.
Ms Viven said that her father had a number of comorbidities, including heart and renal issues.
“For a week he could barely walk,” she said yesterday. “On Wednesday morning, he woke mum up at 6am and said, ‘Can you give me the phone? I’m going to call the ambulance because I can’t get out of bed and it’s not getting better’.
“He’d seen what had happened to me and he didn’t want to go through that.”
Ms Viven has a congenital heart condition which has required her to be admitted to the LGH on a number of occasions before, where she, too, endured long waits.
Mr Scott told his daughter he was indebted to the hospital staff for the help and care they had provided him and he didn’t blame them for the amount of time it had taken for him to be given a bed.
He’d seen what had happened to me and he didn’t want to go through that.
But the family are nonetheless disappointed that it took nine hours for that to occur and that Mr Scott had had to wait in a wheelchair for a good portion of the day.
Mr Scott’s experience would have been a frightening one for him and his family, Opposition Leader Rebecca White said.
“Sadly, it’s not an isolated case, but is an example of concerns recently raised by hard-working doctors at the LGH about their struggle to provide adequate care for patients in the ED,” she said.
“The government needs to listen to patients and health workers and fix the problems at the LGH with urgency.”
A THS spokesman said it wasn’t appropriate for him to discuss publicly a patient’s medical condition or the treatment they’d received.
“The LGH emergency department provides medical care based on internationally recognised principles of a medical triage system,” the spokesman said. “That means that patients who are most in need of care receive it as a priority and enables our emergency department staff to prioritise patients who need life-saving medical intervention.”
“Unfortunately, this may mean other patients, whose condition is less urgent, may have to wait for treatment.”
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