A Queensland patient missed out on a kidney from the Sunshine Coast.
A Queensland patient missed out on a kidney from the Sunshine Coast.

Man misses life-saving operation after hospital fail

A QUEENSLANDER desperate for a life-saving kidney missed out to a patient from New South Wales listed at No. 72 on a priority list because the Princess Alexandria Hospital's transplant unit was shut down over a sterilisation crisis.

The kidney, sent interstate from Sunshine Coast University Hospital, was transplanted into the NSW patient late on Friday night.

The Courier-Mail can exclusively reveal a Queensland patient would have received the kidney if the PA had not been forced to cancel surgery.

In another case over the weekend, a Queenslander was forced to fly to NSW for a kidney transplant because the PA's unit was not operational.

The hospital has had to postpone 130 elective surgeries since Thursday afternoon when problems with its sterilisation equipment emerged.

That included 84 operations yesterday, 28 on Friday and 18 on Thursday.

There are about 1500 patients on the kidney waitlist nationally and the average wait is more than three years.

A spokesperson for DonateLife Queensland, which works closely with Princess Alexandra Hospital, said sending and receiving kidneys from interstate is "normal clinical practice within the transplant sector".

One Nation Senator Pauline Hanson has told The Courier-Mail the Federal and State governments need to work together to put another transplant unit in either Cairns or Townsville hopsitals.

"I'm glad the Sunshine Coast kidney will give the recipient a new lease of life, but, if the Labor Government was doing its job, that kidney would have gone to a Queenslander and the surgery would have been performed in Queensland," Senator Hanson said. "Labor needs to start sorting itself out before sick Queenslanders die as a result of their incompetence."

An organ arrives for transplant at the Princess Alexandra Hospital. Picture: Russell Shakespeare
An organ arrives for transplant at the Princess Alexandra Hospital. Picture: Russell Shakespeare

A spokeswoman for the Metro South Hospital and Health Service, which includes the PA Hospital, said some elective surgery would resume there today.

Although all sterilisers at the PAH are operational again, the decision was made to reschedule yesterday's elective surgery lists to catch up with the backlog of equipment that needed sterilising.

"Emergency surgery is still prioritised at PAH with major trauma being undertaken with the support of our teams at Logan and QEII hospitals," the spokeswoman said.

Elective surgery at the state's second largest public hospital was halted on Thursday when a chemical residue was noticed on packs of sterilised surgical instruments.

PA Hospital director of infectious diseases Geoffrey Playford said an investigation had traced the problem to a new chemical used in the steam-generating process. He said rigorous testing confirmed the instruments were sterile and safe to use.

"Patient safety is our priority," he said. "No patients have been exposed to unsterilised equipment.