Long wait in ‘sick health system’

FAY WHEELER doesn’t have a lot of faith in the Queensland health system – but she’s a fighter.

In 2003 she phoned her 34-year-old son Clinton’s doctor in a small Queensland town.

She begged him to “please do something because Clinton is really depressed and I’m worried”.

“The doctor said ‘Mrs Wheeler, your son is alright and the umbilical cord was cut 34 years ago’ and then he hung up on me.”

Less than a month later Clinton Wheeler strung himself up over the mango tree in his back yard and hanged himself.

Clinton Wheeler was two days short of his 35th birthday.

“My son would still be alive today if the help in the public health system had been there for us.

“I rang every medical and hospital facility I could find a number for in Clinton’s home town – and then in Hervey Bay, where my husband and I were living at the time,” Mrs Wheeler said.

“I knew Clinton was over 18 but a mother knows her children.”

Now Fay Wheeler, 65, is fighting for her husband Stan’s health – and possibly his life.

“I’ve been on the colonoscopy waiting list at Hervey Bay Hospital for over a year,” Mr Wheeler, 69, said from his Biggenden home on Friday.

“I was referred by my doctor because there was blood in my faeces and other things going on.

“I’m not saying I have cancer but it would be nice to know that. I have lost a bit of weight. A year is a long time to wait.”

“Once, when I rang Hervey Bay Hospital to check on my husband’s position on their waiting list they told me it could be ‘three to five years before he is seen’.”

The Wheelers moved from Howard to Biggenden four months ago.

In the latest of “very many phone calls to Hervey Bay Hospital”, Mrs Wheeler said she was told to get her husband “re-evaluated”.

“They have been giving us the bum’s rush for months. Now this. Stan needs to get another doctor’s certificate.”

Former cane cutter, railway fettler and miner Stan Wheeler says he’s still bleeding “but I don’t think I’ve got the big C”.

“The real issue here is I, like many many others going through this, have been a taxpayer and now I’m a pensioner and that’s where the help and care from the health system in this state stops.

“Anna Bligh forgets who put her in there.

“We need local hospital auxiliaries brought back that run our hospitals – not these government bureaucrats who just can’t get it right.”

Stan Wheeler says he will make an appointment with his Biggenden doctor today – even though the doctor is away.

“But why do I have to go through this again and what good will it actually do me?," he asks.

“The health system is sick.”

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