Elderly woman’s 15 hour wait in Rocky ED
COUGHING, wheezing and struggling to breathe, an 84-year-old Rockhampton woman sat in a reclining chair in the hospital's emergency department for 15 hours on Monday, waiting for the busy hospital to give her a bed.
The clock's hands kept ticking, and patients continued to pour into the packed ward, nary a spare chair to be found.
She had been there since 11pm the night before and the message remained the same - there were no beds available.
The woman's husband watched as eight ambulance vans ramped outside.
"You'd be upset too...she could be there a couple of days . She can't change or shower. She's not the only one," he said.
"I spent three days waiting when I was in there."
The woman, who has obstructive pulmonary disease, and her husband have been in and out of hospital for six months with various health problems.
Her daughter said every time her parents have required a bed, "there's nothing available".
"We've seen it so much," the daughter said.
"She's on oxygen 24/7 and I know the doctors are doing what they can but if there aren't enough beds, they can't do anything for her."
When the woman's husband returned to the hospital on Monday afternoon, she had been moved to a bed and was receiving treatment.
"That's all you can ask for," he said.
Rockhampton Hospital acting executive director Celia Anich said patients were treated according to need, with the "sickest and most seriously injured" seen immediately and less urgent conditions needing to wait.
"I sincerely apologise to any patient who has had to wait longer than usual," Ms Anichsaid.