'Impossible to manage patient load'
A CORONIAL inquest into the 2011 death of Goonellabah man Glenn Rubbo at Lismore Base Hospital was part heard yesterday after it was revealed a key witness who wasn't subpoenaed to court was on an overseas holiday.
The court heard Dr Steven Moore, who cared for Mr Rubbo in the days before his death on March 5, was overseas on leave and won't be returning to Australia until June 5.
As his evidence was crucial to the inquest, Magistrate Jeff Linden adjourned proceedings until June 7.
Mr Rubbo died of a cerebro-vascular accident, a stroke, after four days in hospital.
Meric Parker, a senior nurse on duty on the night, said Mr Rubbo was one of 41 patients waiting in the emergency department that night.
She told the court it was physically impossible to manage the patient load between the nine staff that were on duty.
The inquest heard Mr Rubbo was transported to hospital by paramedics after complaining of a constant headache and dizziness.
He was triaged as a category four patient, meaning he should be examined within 60 minutes, at 7.55pm on March 1.
At 10pm, after not being examined, he was again triaged as a category three patient but was not examined in the required 30 minutes.
After still not being attended to, Mr Rubbo went outside shortly before 2am and was seen by two nurses on the ground near a bench seat outside the emergency department.
Mrs Parker said he was then placed on a bed and taken into the emergency department.
Both Mrs Parker and fellow nurse Jenny Gill said they spoke to Mr Rubbo around 2am on March 2 and he was alert and coherent but had no movement down the left side of his body.
Mrs Gill said it was particularly busy on the night but it was hard to plan for busy periods.