Minister says ?sorry
A NEWBORN Ballina baby was left stranded in Brisbane for four days because of poor communication between Lismore Base Hospital and Ballina Hospital, Health Minister Morris Iemma said.
While offering a formal apology in Parliament to the baby's 19year-old mother, Amanda Convery, Mr Iemma revealed that Northern Rivers Area Health Service had the equipment needed to rescue baby Maddison all along.
Maddison was rushed to Brisbane's Mater Hospital for specialist treatment soon after she was born prematurely at the Base.
Ms Convery followed, but was soon sent back to Lismore with the assurance the hospital would return Maddison to her the following day.
But she ended up being separated from Maddison for four days because the Base's only por- tacot, a portable humidicrib which was needed to bring the baby home, was broken.
Staff had been requesting a replacement for the 26-year-old portacot for several years.
Eventually a portacot was found at Ballina Hospital and used to transport the baby.
Dan Madden, executive officer at Lismore Base Hospital, said the delay had occurred because the request to Ballina Hospital to borrow the equipment had not conveyed that there was a stranded baby requiring urgent attention.
Ms Convery said she accepted the Minister's apology.
"It saddens me that it took The Northern Star's call to the Minister to get my baby back, but the hospital staff have been very supportive," she said.
A new portacot arrived at Lis- more Base Hospital yesterday.