A diabetic grandmother on her deathbed after she was accidentally pumped full of high-sugar food by hospital staff was told to "take a Panadol" just hours before she died.

Mary Lillington was en route to the Princess Alexandra Hospital in August 2017 after suffering a broken hip from a fall at her Sheldon home.

However, ramping at the PA forced the ambulance to divert to the Mater Private Hospital - a decision her family says cost her life.

Four years after her death husband Peter (Rob) Lillington, 84, has opened up about his harrowing battle for answers - despite a coroner's investigation and subsequent review finding there was no case to answer.

Following a hip operation, his late wife was said to be "recovering remarkably well" before a shock blood clot forced her into the Mater's intensive care unit.

Mr Lillington says his wife was on the mend, however claims the hospital's unfamiliarity with her diabetic requirements saw her repeatedly fed high-sugar foods at meal times - sending her into a coma.

She remained unconscious for a week before her condition deteriorated.


Mary Lillington with her grandchild and husband Peter
Mary Lillington with her grandchild and husband Peter


Mr Lillington said despite the concerns of nurses about her deteriorating condition, doctors declined to move the elderly woman into intensive care.

"They told nurses to give her a Panadol and four hours later she's dead," Mr Lillington recalls.

"We never got to say goodbye."

The painful memory of his wife of 58 years taking her last breath remains raw for Mr Lillington, who four years after her death is still fighting for answers.

"She was a diabetic and they fed her sugary substances and that's what put her in a coma and killed her," he said.

"The only people who cared in the hospital were the nursing staff who fought against what the doctors wanted to do with Mary."

A Mater Health spokeswoman said Mrs Lillington's death had been the subject of a 2017 coronial investigation and a 2018 review by the Queensland Coroner - which both found "no further action" was required.

"While Mater Private Hospital Brisbane cannot discuss details of individual patient cases, we understand the grief that many families experience when a loved one dies and extend our sincerest condolences," she said.

Karen Boys still ponders whether her mother would be alive had she been treated by at the PA Hospital.


Ambulance ramping at Princess Alexandra Hospital earlier this year
Ambulance ramping at Princess Alexandra Hospital earlier this year


"I know my mum is not an isolated case and stories such as ours are far to common," she said.

She called for the medical system to be reviewed.

In another case, an 81-year-old woman was left waiting four hours for treatment at the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Hospital last month after suffering blood clot symptoms in her leg.

The elderly woman's son, who declined to be named, said Queensland Ambulance Service paramedics were forced to wait with his mother due to a lack of available beds.

"The paramedics were wonderful but the worst thing is that they had to stay with her," he said.

"They could have been out responding to other situations."

State Health Minister Yvette D'Ath said public health workers were doing an "exceptional job every single day" across Queensland.

"Amid unprecedented demand for public health services, our health workforce continually rises to the challenge to provide Queenslanders the care they need," she said.

"The vast majority - 99.7 per cent - of our most urgent Category 1 ED patients are being seen within the clinically recommended time of two minutes."

Opposition Health Spokeswoman Ros Bates said standards of the state's health system were slipping.

"The LNP has been inundated with health horror stories from honest Queenslanders who are frustrated with the public health system," she said.



Mary Lillington
Mary Lillington


Mary Lillington
Mary Lillington




Originally published as 'Giver her a Panadol': Gran's diabetic coma blamed on ramping

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