A MOREE teen and his father are still feeling the strain from travelling 1500km to three hospitals to undergo surgery on a broken arm.
On September 9, Jack Bowden, broke his arm in a trail bike accident and was taken to Moree hospital, before being referred to Tamworth.
“The doctors told Jack and his father Jimmy not to drive to Tamworth until the following day,” Mr Bowden said.
“They strapped Jack up, gave him some painkillers and sent him home.”
Early the next morning the two made the trip to Tamworth and arrived at the hospital at 11.30am.
“We sat in the waiting room of that hospital all day,” he said.
“Jack was in pain, you could see that the painkillers were doing nothing to help him and we were not seen to until 6pm that night.”
The doctors informed Mr Bowden they could not do the surgery as the surgeon was not authorised and in the meantime started to ring hospitals to see who could fit Jack for
“The hospital started to ring around. Armidale was first and they said no. They even rang John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle and they said no because of the bed closures. Finally they rang Toowoomba and they okayed Jack to go there,” Mr Bowden said.
The next day Mr Bowden drove Jack to Toowoomba and again had no luck.
“We sat in the Toowoomba waiting room all day when finally the doctors called him to get prepped for surgery. After waiting for them to come back they informed us that they would not be able to operate on Jack until next week because they were too busy,” he said.
The Toowoomba staff contacted Tamworth to arrange another hospital for Jack’s operation.
“They told us to travel to Tamworth on Wednesday and they would be able to operate on him then,” Mr Bowden said.
With all of the travelling and stress of trying to find a hospital that would operate, Mr Bowden was also worried that if the arm was not operated on soon they would have to re-break the arm to mend it again.
All in one day, Mr Bowden got back into Moree on the Tuesday night and prepared them for the three-hour trip to Tamworth the next day.
“Again we sat in that waiting room the whole day and at tea time, around 6pm, Jack was admitted but was not operated on until 9am on Thursday morning,” he said.
Obviously, Mr Bowden was not happy about the pointless travelling and being thrown between hospitals.
“Jack got two plates and 12 screws in his arm because it was such a bad break.
“Everyone could see that it was quite bad but no-one did anything about it. Something definitely needs to be done to the system, because that is just disgraceful,” he said.
According to Mr Bowden, Hunter New England Health contacted him and apologised.
“I didn’t accept the apology but I am due to go back to Tamworth with Jack in the coming weeks to get a check up on his arm and I will speak to someone then,” he said.
HNEH director of operations – acute networks, Todd McEwan, said they had been in touch with the patient and his family and apologised for their distress.
“Hunter New England Health is unable to comment specifically on this case as we do not have patient consent,” Mr McEwan said.
“However, bed capacity was not a factor in this case. The orthopaedic surgeon locum rostered for Tamworth hospital advised he was unable to attend the hospital on that day and as such, the hospital immediately sought to secure alternative orthopaedic cover.
“In an emergency situation where a patient requires orthopaedic surgery, the hospital will immediately seek to transfer the patient to the nearest suitable facility with orthopaedic cover.
“We do not encourage patients to leave a health facility with a serious injury to seek medical attention