ANGER: Alicia Hawdon wants to know why a CQ health service didn’t call an ambulance when she struggled to breathe
ANGER: Alicia Hawdon wants to know why a CQ health service didn’t call an ambulance when she struggled to breathe

Doctors refuse to call ambulance for 13 minutes

AS Alicia Hawdon drove into Rockhampton from Gracemere she could feel her throat closing up - she'd had mild allergic reactions before but on her way to pick up her partner she realised this was much worse.

The incident happened 2.5 months ago, but the way she was treated by medical staff at Bidgerdii Community Health Service still has her looking for answers.

"As I drove into town my tongue started going funny and I couldn't breathe," Ms Hawdon said.

"When my partner saw me he knew my throat was swollen and I was red like a tomato."

She started to panic and by the time she met her partner on Bolsover St, on August 9, she knew she needed help.

"It just happened so suddenly- I didn't think I could make it to my partner," she said.

But she was within walking distance of Bidgerdii Community Health Service and she thought being in a medical practice was her best chance at help.

"I showed up at the reception asking to ring the ambulance," she said.

"If I was to drop dead I like to think having doctors around would be some help."

When she approached the counter, struggling to breathe, she asked the receptionist to ring an ambulance, but she was told to sit in the waiting room for a doctor to be free.

A doctor ushered her into a room about two minutes later but rather than giving her peace of mind the experience distressed her even further.

Instead of calling an ambulance, she claims the doctor questioned why she arrived at the practice instead of waiting for paramedics on her own.

"I was trying to explain to him I was struggling to breathe," she said.

"I don't understand why the practice couldn't just call an ambulance.

"I wanted to rip my throat open, I couldn't breathe."

She was at the practice for 13 minutes, struggling to breathe, before an ambulance was called.

Paramedics arrived five minutes later and Ms Hawdon was administered with adrenaline, which calmed her symptoms.

Once she caught her breath, her next emotions were anger and frustration.

She formally complained on August 12 but she is yet to receive any correspondence from the practice.

She wants to know why the medical practice didn't administer adrenaline or Phenergan, or immediately call the ambulance.

She said she was told they had no medication on hand to treat an allergic reaction, which she couldn't comprehend.

The standard of care would've been concerning regardless of the location, but it was particularly worrying the practice was Bidgerdii for Ms Hawdon.

"My dad was the founder of Bidgerdii," she said.

"That would've been the last place I walked into and thought that happened."

Bidgerdii Community Health Service chief executive Thalep Ahmet said the investigation was still continuing.

"CCTV footage is currently being reviewed as part the investigation and upon the completion of the investigation a comprehensive response letter will be provided to Ms Howden addressing the concerns she has raised," he said.

He said investigations normally took about a month but had been extended due to lack of staff.

While Ms Hawdon said she has tried to speak to Mr Ahmat via phone and in person on several occasions with no success, Mr Ahmat said he would make himself available to talk.

Since the incident Ms Hawdon has had another significant allergic reaction and now has to carry EpiPens at all times.