Christopher Gallaher with mum Nina Dowling was kept in Gympie Hospital’s paediatric unit for 24 hours after a nurse listed him as a low priority, leaving him waiting in the emergency department for more than two hours.
Christopher Gallaher with mum Nina Dowling was kept in Gympie Hospital’s paediatric unit for 24 hours after a nurse listed him as a low priority, leaving him waiting in the emergency department for more than two hours. Craig Warhurst

Qld Health denies racial neglect

A FATHER’S claim that Gympie Hospital neglected to provide his son appropriate treatment because of “racial discrimination” has been rejected by Queensland Health.

Ken Gallaher made a number of complaints about the way his son Christopher, 9, was treated by hospital staff at Gympie’s emergency department when he presented with a variety of symptoms last month. On each occasion his complaint was investigated by Queensland Health and found to have no basis.

Mr Gallaher however, says hospital staff nearly killed Christopher by making him a “low priority” and forcing him to wait hours for treatment that resulted in an overnight stay in the paediatric unit.

“We were waiting in the emergency department for a long time and my son was getting weaker and weaker,” he told The Gympie Times.

“He had blood in his vomit and in his pee...then a girl came in with a sore ear and went in (to the treatment rooms) before my boy. I asked why she went in first and the nurse told me my boy was put down as a category 3.

“Every time we go up to the hospital my kids are almost dead and they get listed category 3.”

Mr Gallaher said he waited with Christopher for hours while patients came in and were treated before him. He said eventually a doctor saw them in the waiting room and noticed how ill Christopher looked.

According to Mr Gallaher, Christopher was kept on a drip for the next 24 hours and three specialists were brought to examine him.

Chief executive health officer of Sunshine Coast Health Service District, Kevin Hegarty said Christopher was triaged as a category 4 as per the Australasian Triage Scale. He said a review of the patient’s triage by the Department of Emergency Medicine nurse unit manager and the district nursing director found the original triage was accurate and met all criteria for a category 4 presentation.

“There is no evidence to support claims Christopher was bleeding in the mouth or had blood in his urine, increasing weakness or was vomiting blood during this initial assessment period,” Mr Hegarty said.

“The patient Mr Gallaher referred to as having an ear ache, actually had health issues that resulted in a higher clinical priority. This patient’s triage was also reviewed and deemed appropriate. Christopher presented at 6.21(am) for initial assessment and was reviewed by a medical officer at 8.52. During this time Christopher was reviewed twice by nursing staff.

“Christopher was found to have an upper respiratory tract infections, or chest infection, and was admitted the paediatric unit for 24 hours and prescribed antibiotics,” Mr Hegarty said.

Gympie Times


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