Susan “Maggie” Foster faces a return to a hospital that she believes has let her down.
Susan “Maggie” Foster faces a return to a hospital that she believes has let her down. Valerie Horton

A date with despair

MAGGIE Foster is due back in the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital this Thursday.

But the Dundowran Beach resident is not overflowing with confidence given her most recent experience at the hospital.

The 54-year-old had been airlifted from Hervey Bay to the hospital in November for a procedure on a leaking liver.

She was discharged about 8pm on a Friday under “strict instructions not to lift anything heavier than a plate”.

“My husband had been in the day before and brought me a pair of slacks and a blouse but when I was discharged I was wearing a pair of disposable underpants and no bra.

“The whole situation seemed strange. In fairness to the doctor he was probably overloaded but sometimes we have to extend ourselves a little bit.”

Her condition was described as “pain free” when she was discharged, meaning she didn’t have to be airlifted from the hospital back to Hervey Bay.

She was told a flight back to the Bay would be arranged through the hospital’s travel desk and that her paperwork had been faxed there. However, the travel desk had closed at 5pm and Ms Foster had to improvise. She was allowed to stay a further night at the hospital before discovering the travel desk was in fact closed for the weekend.

“A doctor told me to pay for the flight and I would be reimbursed,” Ms Foster said.

A taxi ride, a Qantas flight and about $180 later, Ms Foster was home. She has high praise for the Qantas crew that realised she was not in the best of health.

The final insult came when a cheque for $34 arrived by way of reimbursement.

When she went to see her surgeon at Hervey Bay Hospital on December 6, her discharge papers had not arrived.

“What on earth is going on with the health system? Where is the money from the Federal Government going?

“I don’t want to go back to the Royal Brisbane Hospital. It is a production line of bodies. The left hand doesn’t seem to know what the right hand is doing.”

Sunshine Coast-Wide Bay Health Service District executive director of medical services Tim Smart yesterday apologised for any distress felt by Ms Foster, saying Queensland Health was now consulting with her doctor and Patient Travel Subsidy Scheme officers to resolve the situation.

“In reviewing Mrs Foster’s claim it is understood information regarding her travel requirements as given by her doctor did not reach the PTSS office in a timely manner. QH has also taken steps to ensure similar circumstances do not reoccur.”

‘I don’t want to go back to the Royal Brisbane Hospital. It is a production line of bodies.’



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