Readers hit out at treatment of 101-year-old
UPDATE: Comments of criticism and support have flooded The Chronicle social media pages since the publication of Toowoomba Hospital's treatment of a 101-year-old woman going into palliative care.
Pechey man Richard Palmer was angry when he learned his dying mother, Enid Paton, had been transported by taxi from the hospital to palliative care in Crows Nest on October 2.
He contacted hospital management, who on Friday issued an unreserved apology for a breakdown in communication which led to Mrs Paton being accompanied by a nurse in a five-seat taxi to Crows Nest.
Toowoomba Hospital executive director Bernadatte Loughnane last week said in a statement all patients at Toowoomba Hospital were assessed by a team of doctors, nurses and allied health staff about the appropriate timing of discharge, mode of transport and follow-up care.
"Toowoomba Hospital staff will be reminded about the protocols surrounding patient discharge and to make these important assessments in conjunction with family members," she said.
>> read the Facebook comments here
A Facebook comment on the story from Kelly Armitage supported the hospital.
"I do agree it's not the hospital's fault; where were the family who should've been there if you want to blame someone look at them it's a shame her family weren't with her," the comment read.
"Toowoomba Base has been awesome when we've needed them for critical cases."
However, other readers were more critical.
"They should have more respect than that, shame on them," read a comment from Amanda McRae Schuback.
Toowoomba Hospital was contacted for further comment on the use of taxis for discharged patients but failed to respond.
EARLIER: Richard Palmer is angry about what he calls the undignified treatment of his dying 101-year-old mother when she was discharged from Toowoomba Hospital.
The hospital's executive has unreservedly apologised for the incident which has left Mr Palmer demanding answers about discharge procedures.
Mr Palmer, 67, said his mother Enid Paton had received excellent care during her stay at the hospital between September 29 and October 2 this year.
However, he said his good impressions of the hospital's care were ruined when his mother was put into a taxi to return to her Crows Nest nursing home for palliative treatment.
"I had talked to the doctor and the prognosis wasn't good," Mr Palmer said.
His mother was suffering from pneumonia, renal failure and poor liver function.
He said he was told a nurse would accompany her in a maxi taxi for the return to Crows Nest.
After being told this, Mr Palmer assumed no ambulances had been available.
"It was about 6pm when she arrived at the nursing home."
He was told she had arrived accompanied by a nurse in a regular five-seat taxi.
"They had a hell of a time getting her out because she is very frail."
She was moved into palliative care the next day and died a week later in the early hours of October 10.
"I'm not the least bit impressed with the final discharge.
"She is old, but she is a person and a human being at the same time.
"To put someone in that medical condition in a taxi is disgusting and something has to be done about it.
"I just want to make sure it doesn't happen again to anybody."
A Department of Community safety spokeswoman said records showed the hospital did not request an ambulance to transport Mrs Paton back to Crows Nest.
Toowoomba Hospital Executive Director Bernadatte Loughnane said an initial investigation into the case found there was a breakdown in communication in the discharge process.
"I apologise unreservedly to Mr Palmer about the discharge of his mother via taxi from Toowoomba Hospital," she said.
"Toowoomba Hospital staff will be reminded about the protocols surrounding patient discharge and to make these important assessments in conjunction with family members."