07:43 am, Monday 21 May, 2007
Source: Sunshine Coast Daily
A SUNSHINE Coast hospital is investigating what went wrong after a teenager was sent home with an undiagnosed broken elbow and her X-rays were lost in the system.
Little Mountain teenager Kylie Moon, 19, injured her elbow in a workplace accident last Monday.
Her boss took her to Caloundra hospital for x-rays, only for Kylie to be told to call back on Thursday, when a radiographer had examined the prints.
She was given painkillers and sent on her way.
In a phone call on Thursday, Kylie was told it would take a further two weeks for the x-ray report.
Sending the x-rays to Nambour hospital also proved unsuccessful – worse, the hospital lost the prints.
Kylie has since had her elbow x-rayed at a private practice, and the break diagnosed.
She said she was lucky her injury was relatively minor.
“If something major happened and someone in a critical condition needed x-rays, they could end up dead before the report comes back,” she said.
“It doesn’t help that I have to claim for worker’s compensation – I had to wait to be diagnosed before I could claim so instead of getting paid next week, it will probably be the week after.
“It has an impact financially. Even though I live at home, I need to be independent.”
Kylie’s mother Christine was frustrated by the treatment her daughter had received.
“It’s just ridiculous. The government’s going on about doing this and that but in reality it’s getting worse and worse,” she said.
“Fair enough it can’t be put in a cast, but it could have needed surgery. Until the results were in, no one knew exactly what was wrong.
“To wait three weeks is ridiculous.”
Christine said having the second x-ray done at a private clinic meant the government had two Medicare rebates to pay, for the one case.
“They can’t afford right services in our hospitals but then are forcing Medicare to reimburse people twice,” Christine said.
Kylie has been told the injury will take about a month to heal – if she had waited for her report, the break would have been all but healed before she knew the nature of her injury.
Until then, she has been instructed not to use her left arm at all, and is still taking painkillers.
Sunshine Coast health district manager Kevin Hegarty yesterday said an initial review of the situation revealed “communication could have been improved”.
“When the issue was brought to district management attention on Friday, an initial review indicated the communication process could have been undertaken better,” he said.
“We are keen to pursue a meeting with the patient, her mother and senior clinicians to review the specifics.”
Mr Hegarty said he hoped to begin making arrangements for the meeting today.
Caloundra MP Mark McArdle said the case highlighted the state government’s inability to fund client services.
“Yet again the Sunshine Coast is suffering and basic medical necessities are not being provided,” Mr McArdle said
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