CORAKI protesters, from left, Chris Ryan, Diane Mackie and Narelle Jarvis, with heart attack victim Russell Kapeen.
CORAKI protesters, from left, Chris Ryan, Diane Mackie and Narelle Jarvis, with heart attack victim Russell Kapeen.

Living testament to Coraki?s needs

By RENEE REDMOND

RUSSELL KAPEEN drove himself to the Campbell Hospital in Coraki almost three weeks ago with severe chest pain.

He was having a heart attack.

Still recovering from surgery, the Coraki resident believes that without the help of nurses working after hours at the Coraki hospital emergency service, he wouldn't be here today.

"The sisters settled the pain, they knew exactly what to do. Illness doesn't start at 9am and knock off at 5pm, it can hit you at any time," he said.

The 54-year-old resident was one of about 100 protesters who turned out at the hospital yesterday for the second protest at the possible removal of 14 acute care beds and the restriction of emergency service to daytime, but this time they brought their own beds.

When North Coast Area Health Service chief executive Chris Crawford arrived at the hospital for a meeting with the Aboriginal community to discuss the new clinic at Box Ridge he was faced by residents booing him.

"I'm just doing my job. The plans are not some personal crusade of mine," Mr Crawford said.

"No matter how much you put into health, it's never enough. We're working on a more modern model of care."

Mr Crawford said yesterday's meeting brought up concerns about the location of the health outpost.

"The community said they wanted to keep the beds, and also thought the Box Ridge outpost should be located in town," he said.

Mr Kapeen agreed, saying most Koori people lived in Coraki, not Box Ridge.

"I would encourage the Aboriginal people to go against the outpost, if it will be at the cost of our hospital," he said.



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