WILL Cowling, 2, had just finished his morning Weetbix.
So the little tyke started playing with his big brother, Jack, 4. "Boys being boys, they were running down the hallway," mum Nicole said.
Will clocked his head on a door at the end, leaving a two-inch gash above his eye.
And the family's experience at Gladstone Hospital left much to be desired.
Nicole was told first that her son would need to go under general anaesthetic for surgery. As Will had already eaten, she was instructed to return at noon.
When the Cowling family came back, two options were given. They could either travel to Rockhampton for surgery, or the doctor in Gladstone would administer a local anaesthetic and stitch the gash.
The anaesthetist felt uncomfortable putting Will under as he was congested.
Nicole chose the latter. But Will left the hospital with only steri strips to seal his wound.
"It was like a patchwork quilt. The skin didn't even meet properly," she said.
"It was a really horrid job."
Nicole left feeling very anxious. She was worried about Will's cut becoming infected, and the risk of scarring.
"We wanted it done right, that shouldn't be too much to ask for at a hospital," she said. So she called medical hotline 13HEALTH and explained the circumstances. The operator's advice: to go straight to Rocky, where Will was given local and stitched up properly.
Nicole said she felt like Will's case was put in the "too hard basket" at Gladstone.
Rod Boddice, Chief Operations Officer, Central
Queensland Health Service District
Firstly, let me apologise to Mr and Mrs Cowling for any concerns they have about their child's treatment.
I do not have consent to discuss this patient's treatment or clinical condition, but I can say the treatment options, particularly when it is a child, are always discussed with the parents, or in this case the child's mother.
The advantages and disadvantages of the options are discussed and a clinically appropriate decision on treatment is made in discussion with the parents.
There is nothing to indicate that did not happen in this instance and the treating doctor, who has considerable plastic surgery experience and is a Fellow of Plastic Surgery, indicates that at no time did the patient's mother raise concern about the treatment provided.
If a wound is not deep, steri strips can be used to close the wound.
This option is less invasive and less stressful for the patient. Sedation is used on a young child simply because of their age to ensure they sit still.
If the patient is very co-operative sedation might not be required.
If the use of steri strip is not successful, local anaesthetic and stitches would be used.
If a child has just eaten, or if they have other health issues, there are strict medical requirements for the administering of sedation.
Those requirements meant a patient in those circumstances would have to be sedated in a larger facility than Gladstone Hospital.