Boxer's family pushes to bring brain surgeon to town

THE tragic death of boxer Braydon Smith has sparked a campaign to bring a neurosurgeon to Toowoomba.

Braydon's father Brendon Smith yesterday said he wanted to try to get the potentially life saving service for the Toowoomba community as well as his son's legacy.

"We understand we are not the first and won't be the last family to receive the news we did a few days ago," Mr Smith said.

He had asked a Toowoomba Hospital doctor if his son could be operated on straight away after the 23-year-old collapsed on Saturday night.

"When we were told there isn't a neurosurgeon in Toowoomba - it was devastating.

"If we can get a neurosurgeon in Toowoomba, it will save lives."

He said the idea was only in its infancy but hoped to garner support from the community.

"Brayd loved Toowoomba and championed Toowoomba all over the world so he would be so passionate about this.

"What a wonderful thing this could be for everyone in this community."

He also wanted to thank the staff at Toowoomba Hospital who did everything they could for his son.

Toowoomba Hospital general manager Dr Peter Gillies said while the efforts were commendable, especially in the face of the tragedy, it was unfortunately something that would currently be unfeasible.

"Firstly, on behalf of the Toowoomba Hospital staff, I would like to pass on my condolences to the family and many friends of Braydon Smith," Dr Gillies said.

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"His passing was an unexpected tragedy.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out the family today as they prepare to say their final farewells."

He said neurosurgery was a highly specialised service and funding the service would only be one aspect.

"Our proximity to Brisbane and relatively small population means a neurosurgery service is not viable."

Dr Gillies went into further detail as to why neurosurgery was not considered viable at Toowoomba Hospital.

"From a training and staff retention point-of-view, to operate a reliable 24-hours-a-day medical service you ideally need at least three specialists and at least two registrars (trainee specialists).

"It is generally not sustainable to have only a single specialist for any speciality.

"In the case of neurosurgery, there would also need to be considerations made for specialist anaesthetic and intensive care unit support services.

"For any service you need enough work and varied case-load to keep a specialist busy, to allow them to retain their skills and to attract suitably qualified staff to the hospital."

He said there were medical helicopter services between Toowoomba and Brisbane hospitals.

"On average this transfer takes just 25 to 30 minutes.

"Staff and management at the Toowoomba Hospital work hard to ensure that we can rapidly transport patients to Brisbane so they can access specialised neurosurgery services in the metropolitan hospitals.

"I am more than happy to sit down with the family and explain this matter further."

Braydon's funeral will be held at St Patrick's Cathedral from 2pm today.

Family and friends are welcome to attend.



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