Patient claims she was 'kicked out' as Rocky Hospital handle flu outbreak
JENI Lee claims she was suffering from pneumonia when she was "kicked out” of her medical bed at a packed Rockhampton Hospital earlier this week.
The Rockhampton woman says she spent two days in the hospital's emergency ward where she saw several elderly and young people suffering from the flu.
A Queensland Health Spokesperson yesterday said in the past fortnight there had been an estimated 300 people across CQ seek treatment for the flu.
Meanwhile, Rockhampton Hospital's executive director gave an assurance that the decision to discharge a person from hospital was made by clinicians and based on the patient's condition.
Jeni said she felt she was forced out of the hospital too early.
She said she felt sick and could hardly breathe.
"I spent two days in the emergency department because other areas of the hospital were full,” Jeni claimed.
"There were no beds for patients upstairs.
"Over the weekend, a lot of elderly people were asking staff when they would be shifted (into a ward) and were met with the response 'there are no beds'.”
Executive director of Rockhampton Hospital Wendy Hoey yesterday offered a personal apology to Ms Lee "if she does not believe the care she received was appropriate”.
"I can assure her that the decision to discharge a patient from hospital is made by clinicians and based on the patient's clinical condition,” Ms Hoey said.
"Our hospitals are always busier during winter and this year hospitals across Queensland and Australia have felt the effects of the very severe flu season.
"Hospitals and health services, including Rockhampton Hospital, have winter bed management plans in place to help address the increased demand.
"This may include opening additional beds and rostering on additional staff.
"But, just as there is increased illness in the community, particularly during a particularly potent flu outbreak, there is also increased illness among hospital staff.
"This can cause delays for patients in our emergency department. While in the Emergency Department patients continue to receive care from our qualified and dedicated clinicians.”
The hospital released numbers showing 14 admissions for influenza or related conditions since Saturday to 4pm yesterday.
Figures were also provided showing the annual average number of daily emergency department "consumers” was 145. In recent days only Monday, with 159 consumers, and Saturday, with 146, were above this figure.
Earlier in the day, acting public health physician for Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service, Dr Margaret Young, described this flu season as one of the worst in years, with 30,000 people in Queensland and around 800 people in CQ confirmed as having the flu.
Dr Young said those figures were just the tip of the iceberg.
In the past four weeks in CQ there were an estimated 500 people confirmed as suffering from the flu and an estimated 300 in the past fortnight, the most affected being children under five and elderly 65 and over.
Dr Young said after this week the number of sufferers should start to fall off.
He said it was never too late to vaccinate, however the region was now reaching the end of the flu season.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson from North Rockhampton's Mandalay Medical Centre said there had been a major increase in people presenting with flu-like symptoms, averaging about 30 people a day.