Mum fears gangrene after ‘no action’ at hospital

‘NOT HAPPY: After repeated trips to the Gympie Hospital, Jonathan McKee could have to have his infected toe amputated. His wife Tiana is furious with the hospital system. BELOW: The toe after it was kicked and just before treatment by a GP.
‘NOT HAPPY: After repeated trips to the Gympie Hospital, Jonathan McKee could have to have his infected toe amputated. His wife Tiana is furious with the hospital system. BELOW: The toe after it was kicked and just before treatment by a GP.

GYMPIE mum Tiana McKee is outraged at treatment given to her husband Jonathan after he presented with a suspected broken toe at Gympie Hospital.

Warning: Graphic images below

She claims because of delays and an alleged missed diagnosis her husband now faces having the middle toe on his right foot amputated due to a bone infection. 

Mrs McKee said the painful story started nine weeks ago when Mr McKee got hit on the toe by a remote-control car.

Later he kicked the same toe on the towbar of his daughter's trike.

At first the couple weren't concerned about the toe, thinking it was just bruised. But when the toe started to change colour and the pain increased they visited Gympie Hospital.

Staff at the hospital X-rayed the toe but said there was little they could do and sent Mr McKee on his way.

A week-and-a-half later, with the pain increasing and the toe getting blacker, Mr McKee visited the hospital again.

"I was getting upset," Mrs McKee said. "He was trying to suck it up, but the pain was getting worse, so I sent him up again. He waited two hours and came home again."

Mrs McKee was still concerned and took her husband to the chemist that weekend and asked the pharmacist to inspect the toe.

By this time a black lump had formed on the end of the toe.

"She (the pharmacist) said it looked like it was going gangrene," Mrs McKee said.

"She told us to go back to the hospital."

Mr McKee went back to the hospital that afternoon and told the hospital staff that the pharmacist was concerned it could be infected.

The hospital sent Mr McKee home again.

By this time Mr McKee was in excruciating pain.

"It was ruining our relationship," Mrs McKee said. "No one could go near him for fear of touching the toe."

She said her husband was a man who was used to pain.

"But this pain was excruciating," she said.

"He had tears running down his face as he put cream on his toe."

A week later a desperate Mr McKee, with a very black toe, tried the Gympie Hospital again.

This time medical staff gave him a "four-day" course of antibiotics and told him to come back on Thursday after work.

"On that Thursday night they said he was okay and sent him home. They said if he any further issues he was to see a GP," Mrs McKee said.

But Mr McKee didn't feel okay and two Saturdays ago he went to see a GP.

The doctor gave him a dose of antibiotics and said "it doesn't look good".

Last Wednesday he went back for a follow-up app

ointment to get a new X-ray and get the toe cleaned up. The doctor removed the toe nail, the black lump from the end of the toe and all the dead skin around it and took a swab.

The results came back Friday and showed the bone was infected. Mr McKee is now on a four-week course of antibiotics.

"If it doesn't work we have been told the toe will have to be cut off," Mrs McKee said.

"I'm very emotional because he is still suffering the pain.

"I know they (the hospital) are understaffed and overworked, but not to listen to a patient in pain is not right."


SUNSHINE Coast Hospital and Health Service director of Gympie Health Service, Ms Leuwin Ferguson, says the hospital has treated Mr McKee appropriately.

She said Mr McKee first presented to the Gympie Emergency Department on October 11 with an injury to his right toe.

An X-ray indicated there was no broken bone and the correct treatment was provided for a bruised toe. Mr McKee presented again on October 25 complaining of ongoing pain.

Mr McKee explained that since his first examination he had "kicked his toe on several occasions since".

A repeat X-ray was taken but again, there was no evidence of a broken bone or bone infection. Mr McKee was discharged with advice to take pain relief and to return if signs of infection developed.

Mr McKee returned to the emergency department on October 29 but did not wait for medical assessment.

Mr McKee's next presentation was on November 4 with signs of ulceration to the tip of the toe and the correct treatment was commenced with oral antibiotics.

Mr McKee was advised to return for review two days later, at which time improvement in tenderness of the toe was noted.

Mr McKee was advised to follow up with his GP the following day.

The clinical notes on Mr McKee's presentations to the Gympie Emergency Department for injuries to his right toe are well documented.

The Director of Emergency Medicine, Gympie Health Service, is satisfied that the correct diagnosis and treatment were provided.

The role of an Emergency Department is to provide acute and emergency care.

The provision of ongoing outpatient care is best placed with the patient's general practitioner.

Gympie Times

Topics:  gympie health hospital

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