Hazel Macdonald wants to watch grand-daughter Grace Riley, 3, grow up, but she is unable to access dialysis on the Fraser Coast and, if she can’t keep travelling to Brisbane, she won’t live long enough.
Hazel Macdonald wants to watch grand-daughter Grace Riley, 3, grow up, but she is unable to access dialysis on the Fraser Coast and, if she can’t keep travelling to Brisbane, she won’t live long enough. Jocelyn Watts

Grandmother drives for dialysis

A MARYBOROUGH grandmother says her life is a “living nightmare” because of the severe shortage of dialysis availability on the Fraser Coast.

Hazel Macdonald, who owns Bouganvillia Dell Nursery, was given the option earlier this year of continuing to live in crippling pain, knowing eventually she simply “wouldn’t wake up one morning”, or staying alive with dialysis treatment three times a week.

Naturally, the 71-year-old chose the latter – but she says travelling to different hospitals across Queensland to receive her treatment has taken a massive toll on her and her family.

“Because Hervey Bay is full up and Maryborough doesn’t even do dialysis treatment, we have to travel wherever the health system says and that could be anywhere from Bundaberg to Brisbane,” she said.

“My husband, Don, is 78 years old and he hasn’t got the concentration to drive through traffic three times a week so my kids have been running me there and back.

“It’s just too much in one day and the imposition on our family has been just horrendous.”

Ms Macdonald has suffered kidney failure, a heart attack and a stroke in the past year and also battles severe pain from an old horse riding accident.

She is so unwell home dialysis treatment is not an option.

“And they still expect me to travel backwards and forwards to hospitals.”

Sunshine Coast-Wide Bay Health Service District Northern Cluster manager Beth Norton said 46 people were being treated for dialysis on the Fraser Coast; up from 40 four months ago.

She said the service was easing the pressure on Hervey Bay Hospital by providing transport for renal dialysis to Gympie Hospital.

“Mum has contributed to the Maryborough community for the past 55 years. She’s finally come to the age where she needs help and care and she can’t get it,” son Don said.

“What’s a town without a hospital system?”



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