Taylah Pederson, 2, with mum Naomi Roberts, right, and aunt, Kylie Roberts, was unable to see a doctor at Casino hospital after breaking her wrist.
Taylah Pederson, 2, with mum Naomi Roberts, right, and aunt, Kylie Roberts, was unable to see a doctor at Casino hospital after breaking her wrist. DAVID NIELSEN

Toodler's hospital trauma

WHEN heavily pregnant Casino mother Naomi Roberts found her two-year-old daughter clutching her arm after hearing a loud crash and screams, she did what any parent would – she rushed the toddler to the nearest hospital.

Unfortunately for Naomi and toddler Taylah they live in Casino and, despite the town having a population of 10,000 and a 24-hour emergency department, there was no doctor on duty who could tend to the child’s broken wrist on Tuesday afternoon.

Ms Roberts said she was told she had three choices: go to Lismore or Kyogle hospitals, or come back the following day.

“I couldn’t believe it,” said a distressed and frustrated Ms Roberts yesterday. “How can a town this size not be able to look after its children,”

The lack of doctors at Casino has been longstanding.

As reported yesterday, The Northern Star emailed a series of questions to North Coast Area Health shortly after 9am on Wednesday asking if Casino Hospital would be without a doctor for most of this week.

The reply came at 5pm yesterday.

It confirmed that a doctor unexpectedly left last Friday, leaving day-time shifts unfilled. It said a temporary doctor had been employed for next week and others were available on-call this week after 6pm.

“The North Coast Area Health Service will actively recruit for a permanent CMO (Career Medical Officer) to provide medical services to Casino Hospital,” the area’s chief executive Chris Crawford said.

“Until a permanent CMO is recruited, locum CMOs will be engaged to fill shifts at Casino Hospital.”

That didn’t help Taylah and her mother.

Staff at Casino hospital X-rayed Taylah’s arm but told Ms Roberts they had no doctor to interpret it, so the X-ray was transmitted to Lismore Base where the doctor said he couldn’t tell if anything was broken.

Ms Roberts said after bandaging the child’s arm, staff sent Taylah home with a couple of paracetamol.

After taking the child to Kyogle Hospital a physical examination determined the child had a green stick fracture.

“It wasn’t just us who couldn’t see a doctor,” Ms Roberts said.

“We were there until about 3pm and there were seven patients wanting to see a doctor in that time.”

Despite the 33-hour delay in informing Casino the hospital did not have a doctor, the health department found time to issue a positive press release yesterday.

It said that 91 per cent of patients on the North Coast had rated their experience of the hospital system as positive.

The press release then detailed the satisfaction rating of patients at Lismore Base (97.3pc), Tweed (94.4pc) and Port Macquarie (98.7pc).

No figures were provided for Casino Hospital.

HOW SHOULD NORTH COAST AREA HEALTH SOLVE CASINO’S DOCTOR SHORTAGE?

Phone 6624 3266 or SMS 0428 264 948



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