My Queensland Health story

Queensland Health is frequently in the news. And most of it is bad – there are never enough beds, waiting lists are too long, wage systems break down and staff aren’t paid for months on end, moving or amalgamating hospitals closing, nameless bureaucrats fail to do necessary pre-employment checks and end up giving medical jobs to butchers who kill their patients. I reckon those folks at the top must tear their hair out trying to convince us that Queensland Health isn’t trying to kill us but actually help us.

I agree that Queensland Health is often on the dodgy side. But I want to share our family’s story from this week that show there are parts of the system that do work, there are people who have dedicated their professional lives to helping Queenslanders and there are parts of the system that work really well.

On Sunday afternoon we received a phone call that Michael (our 3rd son) was in an ambulance on his way to the Royal Children’s Hospital. He had been on a playdate/sleepover with a school made and had come a cropper on a mini-motorbike and broken his leg.

Over the next three days here’s a brief list of what we got from Qld Health –

Day 1 (Sunday afternoon)

  • At the scene he was attended to within ten minutes by two ambulance officers
  • He was driven straight from the scene (near Woodford) to the Royal Children’s Hospital (located north of Brisbane city)
  • In the emergency ward, he was immediately attended to by three pediatric doctors, and three pediatric nurses (the ambos stayed and assisted until he was settled)
  • He had x-rays and then within a few hours was in surgery to have a rod inserted into his femur

Day 2 (Monday)

  • After surgery, Michael was admitted to the McConnell Ward in the Surgical Building of the RCH
  • We were allocated a large recliner chair so that we could stay with him during the night and day (Vernon took the night shift and I took the day shift). Vernon and I also had access¬† to the parent’s lounge (for parents whose kids were staying in hospital). The parents lounge is by no means luxury, but we had access to toilet, showers, towels, microwave, tea, coffee, toast, tv, a computer and some internet.
  • During the day he was attended to each hour by nurses and was given round-the-clock medication to manage his pain


View from the McConnell Ward, Surgical Building, Royal Children’s Hospital, Brisbane

Day 3 (Tuesday)

  • Two physiotherapists came to see Michael throughout the day. They gave him lessons in how to use his crutches properly, including lessons in walking up steps and how to get from sitting to standing position and back again
  • The nurse manager in the ward took time out to sit with us after the boy in the next bed next went into respiratory arrest and emergency staff were called, working on him for over an hour. She wanted to make sure we understand that the boy was okay and to answer any questions about what happened.
  • A hospital teacher visited to check on Michael’s school
    needs, going away and then coming back with some additional school work

On discharge (Tuesday afternoon)

  • Follow up appointment with the physiotherapist next week to undertake water treatment.
  • Follow up appointment with the ‘bone clinic’ later in his recovery
  • Given a thirty minute talk with the pharmacist about what each of his take-home medications does and is for, as well as enough medication (the strong stuff) to last two weeks
  • A set of crutches that he doesn’t have to return
  • When we got home we also had a follow up phone call from a doctor to talk through his pain medication, and follow up appointments

6 days later all we have had to outlay at our local chemist is –¬†

  • $17 for a bottles of liquid panadol & neurofen
  • $45 for the hire of a wheelchair
  • $20 to hire the bath chair

Both of us have had to have time-off-work, but as we’re both free-lancers it’s not unmanageable. We have had no out-of-pocket expenses for what has no doubt been thousands of dollars of emergency treatment. Each of the staff were diligent in ensuring that we understood every step of Michael’s treatment. They explained what they were doing before they did anything, and talked us through possible side-effects and alternative treatments.

There are so many things wrong with our system. Mental health is disgustingly underfunded, Indigenous health seems to miss the mark so often. But this week, our family is grateful to the Queensland Government and Queensland Health, and know that as full-public patients we have received the best healthcare possible to get our little bloke back on his feet.

Slow yet steady recovery


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