ACT chief minister apologises for medical neglect

Date: Oct 20, 2014

Canberra Hospital staff have come under fire after a case of medical neglect, which has prompted an apology from the state's chief minister.

Opposition Leader Jeremy Hanson brought the issue to the Legislative Assembly late last month after he received a letter from a constituent during question time.

According to Mr Hanson, an elderly patient who suffers from a potentially life-threatening auto-immune disease was admitted to Canberra Hospital.

The man, who was unable to walk, spilt a urinary bottle on his bed covering both his clothes and sheets. The letter received by Mr Hanson explained that the patient rang for a nurse and asked for assistance, but was allegedly declined because she was too busy.

The elderly man was told the nurse would return to help him shortly, but help never arrived and he was left to sit in his own urine for hours. Within 24 hours, huge blisters appeared on the back of his thighs. It was at this time, the patient received treatment from hospital staff.

Chief Minister Katy Gallagher said there would be a full investigation into the incident and apologised on behalf of Canberra Hospital.

"I'm very sorry for that patient; it is not the standard of care that is provided at Canberra Hospital," she said.

While she explained this was a distressing case, she was happy with the hospital's working culture.

"But I will also accept that in a large workplace there are instances where care and professionalism of staff is not what you would expect," she stated.

"Canberra Hospital has proactively been looking at essential care requirements to ensure that patients' essential needs are appropriately met."

Other allegations

Mr Hanson told the Legislative Assembly that the letter also contained two other incidents encountered by the elderly man.

According to the Canberra Times, on one occasion the man was left for 72 hours without being showered by staff.

Moreover, at another time, the patient who was accompanied by his home carer asked for a walking frame to get around the hospital. However, he was allegedly told that there was none available and he should have brought his own from home.

NSW medical negligence

While the case in the ACT is still ongoing, it highlights that on some occasions, medical treatment and care is not up to standard. If you or your family have experienced similar in NSW, then it is possible to claim medical negligence compensation.

Call us now on 1800 004 878 to book a free appointment with one of my compensation experts, or email your enquiry.