Thursday, June 03, 2010

Third world hospital care in Australia

Hungry RPA patient Malcolm Jorgensen sent out for own food

A PATIENT at one of Sydney's biggest teaching hospitals was told that it had run out of food and he should walk to the 7-Eleven or McDonald's if he wanted to eat. Malcolm Jorgensen, who was being treated at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital for a serious staph infection, was sent out by nurses in the rain with a needle and cannula in his arm at 11pm.

The Sydney University PhD student put on his coat and walked 200m to the 7-Eleven, but was unable to find a meal. He then walked more than 500m in the rain to a fast food shop in King St, Newtown, and bought a kebab before returning, drenched, to the hospital.

"It wasn't the nurse's fault," Mr Jorgensen, 27, said yesterday. "She said 'I'm sorry they ran out of food, it has been a busy night'. "There's no point arguing, I got dressed and went out. I didn't have an umbrella with me. "I was pretty shocked. When they sent me off down the road I had the cannula in my arm.

"I was feeling crook. I had had the staph infection for a few days so one arm was infected and the other arm had the cannula. "I was restricted in what I could do. I went to the 7-Eleven, they only had pies so I went the other direction to King St, Newtown and I got a kebab."

Mr Jorgensen was discharged yesterday after spending two nights in hospital when a cut became infected.

A hospital representative called Mr Jorgensen late yesterday to apologise for his treatment on Monday night, telling him the system for distributing food to patients would be reviewed.

Mr Jorgensen arrived at hospital at 6pm on Monday after a doctor at Sydney University sent him there for urgent antibiotic treatment. It took several hours before he reached the ward.

A Royal Prince Alfred spokeswoman said there were systems in place to provide meals after hours. When Mr Jorgensen arrived at the hospital an order should have been filled for a hospital meal but it was not. There should also have been meal packs available for patients who arrived late.

"Unfortunately, these systems were not followed," the spokeswoman said. "We have contacted the patient and apologised for this unusual lapse in process." Staff could also have had access to the kitchen, the spokeswoman said.

Despite Mr Jorgensen being told there was no food in the kitchen, the hospital spokeswoman would only admit that their systems had failed. It was unclear last night how many patients were affected by the food shortage.


Father who bashed pedophile cleared

Since the pedophile was let off, any other verdict would have been grossly offensive

A JURY has taken 40 minutes to find a father not guilty of bashing a pedophile who molested his son after watching State of Origin at his home.

The man, who cannot be named, had pleaded not guilty in the Beenleigh District Court to a charge of assault causing grievous bodily harm - which carries a maximum penalty of 14 years' jail.

He was alleged to have attacked Shayne Thomas Davidson, 43, at Eagleby on June 11, 2008 after learning about the assault on his son in his bed.

Davidson pleaded guilty last year to indecently assaulting the boy but was spared a jail sentence.

He had been invited over to watch the State of Origin game with his old childhood friend with whom he had recently become re-acquainted.

The court was told that after the game, Davidson told the father and two neighbours he was going to bed on a mattress made up on the lounge-room floor.

But he instead he went into the boy's bedroom and massaged his genitals telling him he was a "pretty boy" and they would be "best pals forever".

When the upset and teary 10-year-old told his father, he is alleged to have dragged Davidson outside and bashed him almost unconscious.

But a jury today took just 40 minutes to return a not guilty verdict after magistrate Walter Tutt told them they must "consider if what the defendant did were the actions of an ordinary resonable person given the circumstances".


A university that can't balance its books

I'm not surprised. I taught there for 12 years and most of my colleagues were mediocrities, to be polite about it. One can hardly therefore expect better of its administrators

THE University of NSW has written off $5.35 million in debts owed by students, reflecting a history of poor financial control. The 2009 annual report, tabled in NSW Parliament yesterday, shows a $2.9m write-off, following a $2.45m write-off the previous year.

The problem goes back to the 1990s when the university could not reconcile two key financial systems and nobody had clear, ultimate responsibility for student debt, according to a source who spoke on condition of anonymity.

A university spokeswoman said: "We now have very effective checks and balances in place and student debt provisions are being steadily reduced. "Our priority had to be to ensure students were not disadvantaged by our administrative problems. "So where there was inconsistency we preferred to write off the debt."

UNSW started 2008 with $7.68m owed by students and $6.67m of this was classified as "impaired" or unlikely to be recovered, according to notes to the financial statements. "Students were allowed to enrol, sit exams and even graduate without paying their fees," the HES source said.

"The [student debt hole in UNSW finances] means that the money needs to come from somewhere else and that means the taxpayers are funding it."

The 2009 report shows student debt reduced to $1.49m and that $621,000 of this was judged unlikely to be paid. UNSW recovered $221,000 in 2009 and $473,000 in 2008.

The source said UNSW had a problematic history of student creditors as well as debtors. By the middle of the 1990s, UNSW owed some 10,000 people about $2m in total, most being students mistakenly charged GST on a $35 fee in 2000, he said. He said the Australian Taxation Office had told UNSW to return the money.

The NSW Auditor-General raised concerns about the student money issue in five consecutive annual reports, the most recent being last year's.

The UNSW spokeswoman said a review of money owing to students was finished in 2009. She said $1.6m was refunded to students over an 18-month period from late 2008. In early 2009, UNSW handed over $468,000 to the NSW Office of State Revenue, the home for ownerless money.

The source said that between 1999 and 2006, the UNSW student and financial systems were giving inconsistent figures for student fees. Human error was the cause.


So how is Rudd “kinder”?

Here we go again, needlessly revisiting the suffering and the moral blackmail that John Howard ended but Kevin Rudd has revived:

ASYLUM seekers are once again resorting to self-harm in detention centres amid overcrowding and stalled refugee claims.

The Herald Sun has learned at least 17 immigration detainees injured themselves or attempted suicide in the past 11 months - almost twice the number of incidents of the previous year…

Self-harm by detainees sparked concerns over mandatory detention under the Howard government, and Kevin Rudd’s pledge to be “tough but humane” in his own treatment of asylum seekers.

Catholic priest Jim Carty, who recently returned from nine weeks on Christmas Island, said he knew of at least one detainee who tried to hang himself there… The Herald Sun has also heard of detainees cutting themselves, and of a man destined for deportation who drank bleach and shampoo.


Green-eyed monster sets his sights on balance of power

Bob Brown looked as animated as we have ever seen him this week, basking in the opinion poll ratings he has worked hard at stoking over many years, successfully presenting himself as the trustworthy, likeable and moderate face of a movement that is anything but.

While the Greens leader acknowledges the electorate is "volatile" he has his eyes on holding the balance of power in the Senate, after this week's Newspoll showed the Greens have more than doubled in popularity since the 2007 election to 16 per cent.

As people become increasingly disillusioned with the government (down to a 35 per cent primary vote) and wary of the opposition (on 41 per cent), there is now a real prospect of serious power in the hands of the unaccountable, job-killing ideologues of the green movement.

We can see their handiwork across the country, and they've barely warmed up. It's not just the unbuilt dams, or the green tape preventing proper fire management of bushland. In Cape York, the "sleazy deal", as Noel Pearson calls it, between the Queensland government and the Wilderness Society to take over Aboriginal land as part of the so-called "Wild Rivers" deal, threatens indigenous people's fledgling economic base for no environmental benefit. Pearson says the greens want to keep them in passive welfare dependency, only now "the welfare cheque will be on recycled paper".

On the other side of the country, the Kimberley Land Council's executive director, Wayne Bergmann, accuses the green movement of treating indigenous people like "museum pieces" and attempting to sabotage their pursuit of economic development.

The tyrannical tactics of various eco-socialist groups, which often combine to play good cop/bad cop in relentless pursuit of a goal, are unopposed by a lily-livered, increasingly complicit corporate Australia.

Out front, all we see is the clever pitching of the political wing of the green movement as safe, sensible and decent. Brown and his colleague Christine Milne present a plausible set of clean hands as the political process turns ugly en route to an election.

The end result is an electorate on the move has at least "parked" some of its votes with the Greens, while they wait for Tony Abbott to prove his suitability for the highest office.

The bleeding of support from Kevin Rudd has been breathtakingly fast and sustained now for two months. Ploys such as the resources super profit tax on mining to prop up the budget have played badly, despite Rudd's airy dismissal of criticism as "a load of balderdash, what a load of absolute bunkum".

The rally outside Parliament House yesterday of parent groups, with a tiny makeshift school canteen, protesting at waste in the Building the Education Revolution program, even as the latest victims of roof insulation fires - a Holocaust survivor and an immigrant Iranian family - hit the headlines, give an insight into the depth and breadth of the government's troubles as an election nears.

As the Lowy Institute poll, released on Monday, showed, even on Rudd's preferred strengths, foreign policy and the handling of the global financial crisis, the electorate has marked the Prime Minister poorly. For "Responding to the Global Economic Crisis", Rudd's big selling point in the upcoming election, the government scored just six out of 10. The same lacklustre score came for "promoting good relations with China", despite Rudd's Mandarin-speaking promise.

On combating climate change (the "greatest moral challenge of our time"), the government scored just 5/10, and on Japanese whaling and asylum seekers it failed, with 4/10. Only on maintaining a strong alliance with the US" came its highest mark of 7/10.

In a panel discussion after the poll's release at Lowy headquarters in Bligh Street on Monday, the former Labor powerbroker, and chairman of the Committee for Sydney, Stephen Loosley, found it hard to maintain his usually urbane imperturbability, dismissing criticism of "Kevin 747" as "Tea Party populism".

That morning's bombshell radio interview by the former premier Morris Iemma and Michael Costa only added to Loosley's concerns. Iemma has revealed in a new book by political writer Simon Benson the role Rudd had in his downfall, reneging on a promise to help him fight the unions over electricity privatisation. Iemma said Rudd asked him to delay the privatisation bid until after the 2007 federal election and in return "when the time comes, we can f--- [the unions] together".

But when the time came, Rudd told him: "It's a state issue, I can't get involved." The privatisation which was to have funded transport infrastructure collapsed, and so did Iemma's career, and health. Iemma told 2GB: "I had a commitment, a deal with the Prime Minister and it should have been honoured."

His former treasurer Costa was even more scathing: "I speak to Labor people and I'm not talking about conservative voters here. I'm talking about dyed-in-the-wool Labor people that have really turned off this bloke [Rudd]. That car radio test is the test that you apply - if a bloke comes on and you hear him speak for a couple of seconds and you turn off your radio you know he's lost the public and I think this bloke's lost the public."

With such hatred of Rudd from within the NSW Labor Right, Loosley could only shake his head grimly, and continue on the panel valiantly to praise the Prime Minister for foreign policy work such as the G20.

The understatement of the morning came from fellow panellist Arthur Sinodinos, the former Howard adviser turned banker, regarded as the pre-eminent tactical guru in Liberal circles. He described Rudd's problems as a "lack of tactical agility".

That is not a label you could ever apply to the Greens.



Paul said...

I would imagine they did run out of food. Most hospital food service ends quite bluntly around 8PM. (Ours doesn't even feed staff after five). It is actually surprisingly hard to get hold of anything more than toast and vegemite after the last evening meals have been distributed, and Wards usually have almost no capacity for food provision. This has been the case in all hospitals I've worked at to a greater or lesser extent. Food service is often one of the first things cut during "efficieny" drives. Patients need families to be more active and stop the "we're paying for it" mentality and get more involved, because the hospitals don't really care. Ethnic families are much better at dealing with this than Anglos because most have some background of being from where the State didn't provide everything.

Paul said...

"But he instead he went into the boy's bedroom and massaged his genitals telling him he was a "pretty boy" and they would be "best pals forever".

Not only a disgusting piece of work, but completely stupid too. Did he honestly think he wouldn't be found out? How the hell did he avoid jail?