QH denies man waited hours in pain

QUEENSLAND Health has denied claims that a 51-year-old Maryborough man had to wait more than eight hours in “excruciating pain” before he was treated for a strangulated bowel at the Hervey Bay Hospital.

John Cawthra said he was rushed to Hervey Bay in an ambulance at 7am at the beginning of the month after he fronted the Maryborough Hospital at 2.30am suffering severe abdominal pain and nausea. He said he arrived at the Hervey Bay Hospital about 8am but sat in the waiting room until about 11.30am.

“I’ve never experienced pain like that before,” he said. “I was vomiting and nearly on the floor in pain.

“It was frightening – I had no idea what was wrong with me.”

Beth Norton, manager of the Sunshine Coast-Wide Bay Health Service District Northern Cluster, denied Mr Cawthra had to wait until 11.30am to be treated for a strangulated bowel.

“Medical records show Mr Cawthra presented at Maryborough Hospital at 2.37am on November 24 and was seen at 3.29am.

“He was transferred by ambulance to Hervey Bay Hospital and arrived at approximately 8.24am.

“He was triaged as a category four patient on his arrival at Hervey Bay Hospital. At 9.15am Mr Cawthra was triaged to category three when an emergency department nurse judged his condition had deteriorated.

“Fifteen minutes later at 9.45am, Mr Cawthra was seen by an emergency department doctor and was prescribed pain relief and fluids.

“He was admitted to the ward at 12.35pm with a possible small bowel obstruction and prescribed the appropriate medication.”

Mr Cawthra said while he was given pain relief by a doctor in Maryborough at 3.30am, he was adamant he was not seen by a doctor in Hervey Bay until at least 11.30am.

Mr Cawthra eventually discharged himself at his own risk the next day.

“I was very lucky my bowel had started untwisting itself,” he said. “In severe cases if it’s not diagnosed properly you can die.

“Mind, I only found out I had a strangulated bowel when I went and saw my own doctor that day.

“It was a horrific experience and I hope it has never happened to anyone else.”

Ms Norton said it was important to “reiterate that the care and treatment offered to this patient was appropriate”.



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