LACK OF SERVICES: Julianne Impiccini with her son Beni, 3, who couldn’t be treated for a fractured toe at Gladstone Hospital and had to go to Rockhampton.
LACK OF SERVICES: Julianne Impiccini with her son Beni, 3, who couldn’t be treated for a fractured toe at Gladstone Hospital and had to go to Rockhampton. Luka Kauzlaric

Nightmare hospital trip for toddler due to lack of services

TERRIFIED and in pain, toddler Beni Impiccini's trip to Gladstone Hospital with a fractured toe turned into a nightmare.

Parents Ross and Julianne Impiccini rushed their son to Gladstone Hospital only to be told the boy had to be taken to Rockhampton for treatment as there was no paediatric anaesthetist on staff.

An x-ray on March 22 revealed the toe had an open fracture and the wound needed to be thoroughly cleaned under anaesthetic.

Gladstone Hospital does offer anaesthetics but because Beni was under four years old, the surgery had to be done by the specialist team in Rockhampton.

Given the option of waiting a couple of hours for an ambulance to take them to Rockhampton, Mr and Mrs Impiccini decided to drive Beni themselves.

"I'm happy to go to Rocky and get him the medical assistance he needs but why can't we get it in Gladstone?" the Impiccinis asked.

"Why don't we have an anaesthetist here on the weekend in Gladstone who can do these operations?"

The Impiccinis said they didn't blame the staff at the hospital, but they were frustrated that a city the size of Gladstone didn't have access to after-hour specialists who could cater for children under four years of age.

"The amount of workers and their families - and to think that you are an hour-and-a-half away from medical help," Mrs Impiccini said.

"We're not criticising the ambulance officers, or staff at the Gladstone Hospital, we're criticising the lack of services here - and the lack of medical specialists."

Gladstone Hospital executive director Nicki Murdoch said the hospital was working hard to improve the services at Gladstone Hospital.

"While Gladstone Hospital does not currently have an orthopaedic surgeon, a private-public partnership with the Mater Hospital means we will have one this year, shared between both hospitals," she said.

However, Dr Murdoch said the service would not be available around the clock and emergency after-hour cases might need to travel to Rockhampton.

Beni's fractured toe.
Beni's fractured toe.


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