Patient catches train alone to Brisbane hospital

A GLADSTONE Hospital patient with serious head injuries was allowed to travel unaccompanied on the train to a Brisbane Hospital, it was revealed yesterday.

Member for Gladstone Liz Cunningham has called on the Minister for Health Stephen Robertson to explain the events that led to the patient being allowed to travel alone.

The incident occurred late last month when a patient was admitted to Gladstone Hospital with serious head injuries.

The male patient, in his late twenties, was suffering from a fractured eye socket, depressed cheekbone, a serious injury to his sinus area and other head injuries and was admitted to the High Dependency Unit at Gladstone Hospital.

Arrangements were made to transfer the patient by the Royal Flying Doctor Service to the Royal Brisbane Hospital (RBH), but due to his sinus injuries he was unable to fly. Hospital staff consulted with the RBH staff and it was decided an urgent transfer to Brisbane was not necessary.

Staff decided the patient was fit to travel to Brisbane by train and the necessary arrangements were made. When staff attempted to have the patient travel with a carer, he refused.

A spokesperson for the Minister for Health said the hospital carried out the appropriate medical treatment. The spokesperson said the patient was insistent he travelled on his own, and refused to have any family member accompany him.

No comment was given about the suitability of patients suffering head injuries to travel without medical assistance.

Member for Gladstone Liz Cunningham said the incident was an example of why the public was losing confidence in Queensland's health system.

She said she raised the matter with the minister more than three weeks ago and was yet to receive a reply.

Mrs Cunningham said she was disappointed by the length of time it was taking to respond to such a serious issue.

"This should not have happened in the first place. It certainly should not happen again," she said.

Queensland Health had not responded to The Observer's inquiries by time of printing last night.

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