JUDY REED: I couldn’t go to sleep ... I was scared I wouldn’t wake up.
JUDY REED: I couldn’t go to sleep ... I was scared I wouldn’t wake up. BRENDEN ALLEN

Patient angry at being sent home by hospital

CANCER patient Judy Reed feared she ‘might not wake up’ after being sent home from Lismore Base Hospital.

The Dunoon resident claims she was ‘ignored’ by three triage nurses and spent 14 hours in the emergency ward with a suspected blood clot, only to be told to ‘go home and take aspirin’.

But Ms Reed, a grandmother of three, doesn’t blame the nurses.

“They’re really busy and they do the best they can,” she said.

After being diagnosed with breast cancer in October Ms Reed has been having chemotherapy treatment.

At 9.20pm on January 2, her arm started bruising and swelling up.

“I thought it might be a blood clot, because that’s a common side-effect of chemo,” she said.

“So I went to hospital. The triage nurse wouldn’t assess me. She looked at me through her glass
window.”

Two more nurses came on duty while Ms Reed waited to be seen.

When she was eventually taken to a ‘makeshift bed’, she had blood tests and an ultrasound. Nurses suspected a blood clot.

But 14 hours later they still had not given her any medication and sent her home.

“I couldn’t go to sleep that night. I was scared that I wouldn’t wake up,” she said.

A spokeswoman from North Coast Area Health Service ‘sympathised’ with Ms Reed’s condition.

“Our records show that when Ms Reed attended Lismore Base Hospital she received appropriate assessment and care for her condition and was able to be discharged soon afterwards,” the spokeswoman said.

The health service said the emergency ward was ‘staffed normally with experienced nurses and doctors’.

Two days after leaving the hospital Ms Reed went to her specialist and told him what happened.

“He immediately put me on blood thinning tablets and antibiotics for 10 days,” she said.

“He said my arm was infected in the bone. It could have been a life-or-death situation.”

Dealing with cancer has been tough for Ms Reed. Last year she lost a friend to the disease.

“She’d been having chemotherapy, but she got an infection and died,” she said.

“You go through so much with cancer. I didn’t know what might happen to me.”


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