Bernie's big thanks to hospital after heart attack scare
BERNIE Pershouse is a no fuss bloke who does not like to waste people's time, especially doctors'.
But the relatively healthy 62-year-old knew he had to get to a doctor when a pain grew from his neck down his left arm, he thought he was about to have a heart attack.
Mr Pershouse, an asthmatic who lives in Benaraby to distance himself from Gladstone's industry, drove to his nearest GP in south Gladstone, which he thought was the right thing to do.
After he told the ladies at the front counter of his pain down his left arm and heart attack concerns he was told he could make an appointment in two days.
"I did get a bit angry, I called them some names," he said.
"I thought I could have been having a heart attack, I couldn't wait two days."
He phoned another GP nearby and was told to get to the hospital immediately.
"That did scare me a little bit more when they said to go immediately, I knew it was serious," he said.
He realised the urgency of his symptoms when he arrived at the hospital.
"Wait time? I had no wait time ... as soon as I told them they rushed a woman named Heather out to do some tests," he said.
"After that I had an ECG and that was all within five minutes."
Sharing his story to thank the hospital staff and raise awareness about heart disease, Mr Pershouse said his treatment at the emergency department could not have been better.
The Gladstone born man said the public hospital did not deserve some of the backlash it received.
"The staff are brilliant, they do the absolute best they can with what they have," he said.
To his relief, Mr Pershouse's health history remained somewhat glowing after the hospital confirmed Mr Pershouse was not at risk of a heart attack. The pain was caused by problems with his neck and spine.
"I have quite a good medical history ... if I'm sick or have a headache I just let my body do the fixing," he said.
"I'm 62 years old and I'm not on any pills ... I don't class myself as a natural person but I suppose, compared to other people, I am."
Stats confirm huge health problem
ON AVERAGE two people arrive at the Gladstone Hospital emergency department every day with heart attack symptoms.
The startling statistic - 397 people visited the hospital with those symptoms between July 1 and December 31 last year - adds even more evidence that Gladstone has health problems.
According to the Heart Foundation of Australia the Fitzroy region, which includes Gladstone, is Australia's fifth worst area for coronary heart disease mortality rate.
Heart Foundation health director Rachelle Foreman said there were numerous risk factors for heart disease.
"Nearly all of them preventable, except we can't change our age or our genetics," she told The Observer late last year.
Ms Foreman said smoking and obesity, which were high in the Fitzroy region, contributed to heart disease.
The region is third worst in Queensland for coronary heart disease mortality, seventh in the state for heart-related hospital admissions, ninth in the state for the prevalence of smoking, and fourth in obesity.
Fitzroy has a 40 per cent higher smoking rate than the Queensland average, and the obesity rate is 20 per cent higher.
Ms Foreman said knowing your own risk factors was important and urged people to get a health check