Injuries due to drugs, booze impact on hospital

A COMBINATION of alcohol and amphetamines has meant Gladstone Hospital's emergency department has had to make major changes to the way patients are dealt with.

Emergency doctor Matt Allen, who has worked in the department for some years, said the current transient nature of many residents and the fact many arrived at the hospital after consuming alcohol and amphetamines had made for a much less stable environment.

"These people are much harder to deal with than those who have just consumed too much alcohol, or who have smoked cannabis - they just tend to need to sleep it off," he said.

"But we are having to intubate and chemically restrain aggressive patients who have consumed amphetamines.

"And we are relying more and more on the help of our police to control them until we have them under some sedation."

Dr Allen said binge drinking was also a major problem with young people.

"We see them at a much lower age, in their early teens - they are far less tolerant of alcohol than adults."

He said ED staff were often seeing the result of bashings and regularly dealt with injured fists and heads - and he said glass injuries were quite common these days.

One of his major concerns is that the nights when the results of violence come through the ED doors has extended to virtually every day of the week, rather than the traditional Friday and Saturday nights.

"It's a reflection of the massive change in Gladstone society where we have a large number of shift workers who take days off at all times of the week," he said.

The hospital has had to extend the hours of some other health care workers because of the changes to people's habits, he said.

"But we are the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff. We are the people who have to deal with these issues - issues that really shouldn't happen.

"The question is how to change these people's habits."

New department head Augustus Kigotho said he was saddened by the recent issue of king hits and substance-induced violence.

"Being a doctor is just a label. I am just another husband, and father, and I have the same feeling as every other parent when I see people present at the ED with horrific injuries through violence," he said.

"I've cried many times when I've had to deal with tragedy."

He said education of adolescents about the dangers of substance abuse needs to start at home and continue through schools, and promotion of substances, including alcohol, needs to be regulated in an effort to reduce the danger.

Join us to help stamp out street violence

THE Observer has launched a community campaign called HandsOff (#handsoff), with the aim of making our streets safer,

Here's how you can get involved in the #HandsOff campaign.

By taking the promise, you pledge:

•        Not to participate in, or condone by being silent, any form of street or late-night violence; and

•        To report any incidents of such violence to the relevant establishment and authorities

It's easy to do - just visit and follow the steps.


Have you, your family or friends been affected by violence? We would love you to share your story.

Your story is the most powerful way to bring about change. You can share your story easily here, on our website, via our Share Your Story page.

If you want you could also make a short YouTube video telling your story and why you support the #HandsOff campaign.

Just remember to send us the link so we can share it with others.

Laptop found taped to gas cyclinder at gas station

premium_icon Laptop found taped to gas cyclinder at gas station

A LAPTOP taped to a gas cylinder was found at a service station in Gladstone...

New coral discovered on Great Barrier Reef

premium_icon New coral discovered on Great Barrier Reef

Scientists make an amazing find on our tourism icon.

Twins flourishing seven years after ‘miracle’

premium_icon Twins flourishing seven years after ‘miracle’

Despite the odds, Ruby and Bella Gibson are kicking goals