Benjamin Johnston, 4, suffered a fever after stepping on a rusty nail in his Casino backyard and after his mother took him to hospital four times.
Benjamin Johnston, 4, suffered a fever after stepping on a rusty nail in his Casino backyard and after his mother took him to hospital four times. Kristy Freeburn

Hospital drama for four year old boy who stepped on nail

WHEN four-year-old Benjamin Johnston was playing with his water pistol in the backyard, he stepped on a rusty nail. Mother-of-three Kristy Freeburn took the nail out of his foot and drove straight to Casino Hospital.

Mother and son sat in the waiting room for two and a half hours.

"I've had to carry him in. I then get told there is at least five people in front of him," Ms Freeburn said. "I take him home because he is hungry. At around 11:45pm on Friday night, he wakes up screaming. I give him Panadol and take him back to the hospital."

"He sees the nurse and she says to us, he is smiling there isn't anything we can do, just go home.

"So I leave again, take him back at 6:15pm Saturday as he had been sleeping non-stop Saturday, with high temperatures."

 

The infection spread along Benjamin's foot and leg and up to his groin.
The infection spread along Benjamin's foot and leg and up to his groin. Kristy Freeburn

They wait for three hours this time. They see a nurse who tells them there are seven people in front of Benjamin.

"My son is screaming in the waiting room at this time," Ms Freeburn said. Red track marks from the wound could be seen along Benjamin's leg. Ms Freeburn said.

"They still done nothing. I leave again and take him back on Sunday at 10am."

After four visits to the hospital, Benjamin has an infection and is seen by a doctor, put on a drip and rushed to Lismore Base in an ambulance.

"When we get to Lismore base, they told us the infection had spread to his groin and he needed a tetanus shot straight away. He is so red and lethargic."

While Benjamin has made a full recovery, the hospital experience has left Ms Freebrun angry and distressed.

 

Outside Casino Memorial Hospital.
Outside Casino Memorial Hospital. Susanna Freymark

Northern NSW Local Health District chief executive Wayne Jones said a medical officer was on duty, as well as a full complement of nursing staff within the Emergency Department when Benjamin was at Casino District Hospital.

"On presentation to CDH, triage staff conducted a preliminary assessment of Benjamin, noting he was up to date with the recommended vaccination schedule, which includes tetanus," Mr Jones said.

"During the period following Benjamin's arrival, a number of high acuity patients presented to the hospital and he left with his parent before receiving treatment. Patients in emergency departments are triaged in accordance with the national guidelines, based on the urgency of treatment they require.

"After presenting to CDH on December 2 and being reviewed by the doctor on duty, Benjamin was transferred to Lismore Base Hospital where he received treatment and has since been discharged. He was not diagnosed with tetanus."

Mr Jones apologised for any distress experienced by Benjamin Johnston and his family.

 

Kristy Freeburn of Casino with her son Benjamin who has made a full recovery.
Kristy Freeburn of Casino with her son Benjamin who has made a full recovery. Susanna Freymark

Ms Freeburn said she thought children were a priority in emergency.



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