Heart patient treated on trolley
A MAN who suffered a heart attack on Saturday night was treated on an ambulance trolley at Lismore Base Hospital because of the chronic bed shortage.
Lismore Base hospital medical staff council chair Dr Chris Ingall said this incident happened while seven ambulances queued outside the Emergency Department ED due to bed block.
Dr Ingall said the medical staff council was asking for 100 more beds as part of the redevelopment of the hospital and anything less was unsafe.
With seven ambulances queued, Dr Ingall said the whole region was at risk if people needed urgent transport to hospital.
"There was a man who was brought in by paramedics after suffering a heart attack and he actually had the treatment for that heart attack on an ambulance trolley," he said.
The sheer amount of people who genuinely needed medical treatment tonight was beyond our abilities.
- Comment on Facebook
"It is obviously something you would prefer not to do on an ambulance trolley but it was something that had to be done because of the state of the total bed block of Lismore Base Hospital."
Dr Ingall warned bed block at Lismore Base could get worse.
"As the weather cools and we head into autumn, bed block is inevitable because the number of people coming through the emergency department due to the flu season increases and that happens every year," he said.
"This year we have bed block a little earlier than usual because some people who come here like this part of the world and they stay and have families."
Dr Ingall said emergency department staff described Saturday night as "frantic".
He said an Emergency Medicine Unit at the hospital could help alleviate the delays.
"The staff are run ragged but are doing their best to manage what is an unsatisfactory and downright dangerous emergency department."
Facebook comments by people who were at the hospital on Saturday night reinforced Dr Ingall's
"LBH has been absolutely hammered tonight... and the flow on effect will continue for another 48 hrs," one person said.
"The sheer amount of people who genuinely needed medical treatment tonight was beyond our abilities," said another.
"Where was Chris Crawford, surely he was available to lend a hand," said another.
"Unfortunately this is not a one off! LBH is in desperate need of funding to get these capital works in progress," said another.
Lismore Base Hospital general manager Wayne Jones said the hospital experienced a higher than usual number of presentations over the weekend.
"In particular, the number of patients requiring admission increased by around 10 per day," he said.
"To manage this increase in patient demand additional inpatient areas were opened.
"I extend my thanks and acknowledge the expertise, skills, hard work and commitment of the staff in caring for the patients during this busy time."
Mr Jones said the hospital did not have an Emergency Medical Unit but $2.95 million had been allocated to develop a seven bed unit when the emergency department is rebuilt.
"LBH Management are reviewing strategies, including making additional bed capacity available for the ED to respond to the increase in ED presentations that comes with winter."