Bungle leaves patient in pain



ROCKHAMPTON'S Anthony Reabel says a bureaucratic bungle means he will have to live in a world of pain for two more years.

Mr Reabel, 37, had hoped doctors would operate soon on his badly injured right hip, but was this week told a referral to Brisbane's Royal Brisbane Hospital had been lost in the system.

He says medical authorities now tell him he must go back to the start of a waiting list to be operated upon and live with the injury which has ruined his life for two more years.

"You can't treat humans like this,'' Mr Reabel said yesterday.

"I'm wild. I feel like I'm a hermit stuck in the house all the time.''

Flanked by his two children, Anthony, 12, and Ashlee, 14, he said the pain was similar to having a serious problem with a wisdom tooth but never being able to see a dentist.

Out of work for most of the five years since he first injured himself, Mr Reabel said he was on constant pain relief and struggled to sleep.

"All I want for Christmas is to be told I can get a new hip, so I can be there for my kids,'' Mr Reabel said.

He picked up the injury in 2000 after stepping in a drainhole.

While he didn't feel pain initially within months he was in agony and went to a doctor complaining of a problem down his right side.

Originally believed to be shingles, when this was ruled out he was sent for X-rays, MRIs and to specialists.

After months of tests he had a first exploratory operation at Rockhampton Hospital in December, 2002.

Doctors identified a tear of the cartilage in the hip socket and feeling better Mr Reabel went back to work as a head chef.

The pain returned. He was back in theatre in October, 2003. After the exploratory procedure the specialist decided to send him to Brisbane. A referral was made and Mr Reabel said he was told there would be a two-year wait.

Having made regular checks on how his case since then he was this week told the referral was missing.

A Rockhampton Hospital spokes-person yesterday was "unable to comment on any specifics relating to a patient or their treatment''.

A spokesperson for the Royal Brisbane Hospital said the hospital had no record of Mr Reabel.



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