Hospital had no doctors

BEFORE most families were up on Christmas morning, Yeppoon's Werner Frohlich woke in agony.

Rather than wake a caring neighbour in the early hours, the 64-year-old man called for an ambulance.

Taken to Yeppoon Hospital, Werner was told by a nurse he would have to go to Rockhampton as Yeppoon wasn't taking emergency patients and there was no doctor available.

Werner claims the nurse yelled at him: "You know how much an ambulance costs? Why didn't you drive or call a taxi?"

Werner had already visited the Yeppoon and Rockhampton hospitals last week with pain in his shoulder and left arm, and had undergone tests.

He was placed on heavy medication, which indicated he was not to drive. On Christmas Day Werner claims the nurse at Yeppoon Hospital simply took his blood pressure, gave him "a lesson" in how to take his medications, called him a taxi and left him unattended in the waiting room.

"I was in agony," Werner said, disgusted at the lack of services available.

Queensland Health advised The Morning Bulletin that one of the doctors on duty over the Christmas weekend was involved in a car accident and needed to take unforseen leave.

Maree Geraghty, district chief executive officer, Central Queensland Health Service District, said every attempt was made to find a replacement but this was not possible at short notice.

"As a result emergency care was provided by suitably qualified nursing staff and QAS was on standby to transport any patient to Rocky who needed a higher level of care," Ms Geraghty said.

Senior nurses on duty could consult with doctors at Rockhampton if necessary.

"The nurse on duty who assessed this patient when he attended at 3am on Christmas Day followed all the correct processes," she said.



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