Casino mum feared for sick son
IT'S BEEN a bad couple of years for Casino mother of four Carol Bailey.
After the death of her husband 18 months ago, she has been struggling to raise her family, including two young boys.
When her 11-year-old son Luke lost a lot of weight and strength in May, she immediately took him to Casino Hospital where staff quickly tested him for the potentially fatal Type 1 diabetes.
After a positive result he was transferred and admitted to Lismore Base Hospital.
That is when the real drama began. The frightened young boy was kept in hospital and away from his family for an extra four days – simply because the hospital didn't have a diabetes educator to teach Mrs Bailey how to give her son injections and monitor his condition at home.
“The diabetes educator is the one who shows you how to do the injections and deal with a sugar levels drop, which is life-threatening and they can go into a coma,” she said.
“Luke was not allowed home until I knew how to handle the condition. He was very distressed. He just wanted to be normal and be at home with his brother. It also put a lot of stress on me bec-ause I had to travel backwards and forwards.”
At first, the hospital wanted to transfer Luke to a Brisbane or Tweed hospital, which meant Mrs Bailey would have to find someone to care for her other son.
However, after no beds could be found, the community educator came in off her own bat to help the anxious mother.
“Thank god for her,” Mrs Bailey said. “I'm told the position of a diabetes educator was allocated months ago, but they have not advertised it. There is not one diabetes educator at the hospital.”
Mrs Bailey spoke to The Northern Star yesterday not to complain about how her family was treated, but to stop it happening to any others.
“The staff were fantastic, but we had to wait over an hour in Accident and Emergency to get a bed, and given Luke had to stay an extra four days taking up a hospital bed, it makes you wonder who else is sitting in A&E waiting to get a bed,” she said.
A North Coast Area Health spokesperson said Lismore Hospital has been operating without a dedicated diabetes educator since 2004, andrelied on a community-based diabetes team to provide services within the hospital.
It did not respond to questions about the need to appoint another educator.
Lismore Base Hospital Medical Staff Council media liaison officer Dr Chris Ingall rejected the health services response, saying the lack of an in-house educator had a ‘tangible' impact on patients.
“The jobs are there in the area health service, but they are not being advertised,” he said. “When people go onmaternity leave or resign they're not being replaced.”
DIABETES TYPE 1
It occurs in only 10-15 per cent of all cases of diabetes.
It usually occurs in people under 30 years.
At the time of diagnosis about 90pc of the cells that make insulin are destroyed.
Treatment involves insulin injections and healthy eating.