Dr Paul Cotton has come out fighting for the rights of his patient, Bob Turner.
Dr Paul Cotton has come out fighting for the rights of his patient, Bob Turner. Fraser Coast Chronicle

Local hospitals a 'circus': GP

“YOU’RE high on the priority list. Go home. We’ll be in touch.”

With those chilling words from the Maryborough Hospital receptionist yesterday, gravely ill pensioner Bob Turner walked out of the hospital and home despite holding a collection of doctor’s tests, reports and letters indicating a nasty prognosis.

“This is outrageous,” Mr Turner’s GP, Dr Paul Cotton, said yesterday.

“This is a circus.

“People, my patients, are dying on hospital waiting lists. Some have already died just waiting to get in for public health treatment.

“Bob’s is not an isolated case.

“This has to stop.”

Dr Cotton, believes the 79-year-old Maryborough pensioner has bowel and, latterly, liver cancer and is “at the point of needing a blood transfusion shortly”.

Yet for more than six months, our hospitals have refused to admit him for the same-day, common procedure of a colonoscopy to find out just what’s ailing him.

And yesterday as his nightmare showed no sign of letting up, Mr Turner was turned away after presenting a letter from Dr Cotton to Maryborough Hospital’s A and E, requesting his patient be urgently admitted because “I have a high suspicion of cancer”.

After contacting Queensland Health on the matter, the Chronicle was able to get action for Mr Turner when at 5.12pm yesterday he was told by phone that he had been given a date for his surgery of December 4.

“I’ve had a good innings so it’s not me I’m worried about anymore; it’s the younger ones out there like me who are really sick and can’t get into hospital,” Mr Turner said.

“Bob’s a good and humble man who has worked hard all his life and who deserves now to be treated within the public health system,” Dr Cotton said.

“I have written four letters referring him to Maryborough Hospital and tonight – Wednesday – I would have written the fifth.”

Mr Turner fell ill two years ago and consulted Dr Cotton’s practice.

“I had shortness of breath and was passing blood. It ended up I had to have a bladder operation to remove what was a malignant tumour.

“But I paid about $2000 to have it done at St Stephen’s because it was urgent and I wouldn’t have been able to get into the public system that quickly.”

Just over six months ago Mr Turner “started to get a bit crook again”.

“I saw Dr Cotton and he said I was anaemic.

“My presentation suggested I had a high possibility of bowel cancer. I had been losing blood.”

After delays in getting his colonoscopy a cat scan was done on October 12 – “out of frustration” according to Dr Cotton and showed a lump in his liver.

“But after taking many letters from Dr Cotton to Maryborough Hospital nothing happened except once they referred me to a surgeon at Hervey Bay Hospital.

“But when I got there a man said the surgeon wasn’t there and they’d contact me.

“They never did.”

Mr Turner is a grandfather and will shortly become a great-grandfather.

“I gave up smoking tobacco two years ago and until six months ago I walked a lot and was also doing part-time work until two years back.

“My wife Louise worries about me but I tell her there’s always others worse off.

“We get by.”


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