Emergency department Wollongong Hospital wait time: Don Brown’s 48-hour ordeal

A man suffering from a painful infection has Revealed harrowing details of his 48-hour ordeal at a NSW emergency department.

An elderly man suffering from a painful knee infection was forced to wait 48 hours in the emergency department of Wollongong Hospital.

Six weeks ago, 80-year-old Don Brown arrived at Wollongong Hospital with a swollen knee from an infected artificial knee joint.

He arrived around 3.30pm on Saturday and was triaged within two hours – but they wouldn’t receive a bed until almost twelve hours later.

“We were advised to continue waiting, which we did until approximately 1.30am,” his wife Jenny Brown told The Daily Telegraph.

“We were told that he needed to be admitted and a bed would be found as soon as possible.”

Mr Brown was placed in a bed in the corner of the emergency room around 3am.

“I was there by myself for four hours, unattended,” Don Brown told the newspaper.

“I was in a lot of pain, my knee was swollen and fully infected and I was there for a day without being seen.”

Mr Brown was woken up four hours later, told there were not enough beds and sent back to the waiting room.

“They became increasingly anxious, exhausted and distressed,” Mrs Brown said.

“So I took him out to a long bench where he could lie down on, outside of the ED.”

The Australian Medical Association is blaming a lack of government funding for being unable to meet increased demand.

“We have charted 30 years of decline in the number of beds per head of the population over the age of 65, this is a longstanding issue, but Covid has opened up the cracks,” AMA President Dr Omar Khorshid said.

After 36 hours, Mrs Brown insisted the staff to give her distraught husband a bed so they could lie down in comfort.

On Monday morning, a bed became available for Mr Brown.

“I looked down the hallway behind me and as far as you could see there were stretcher beds the ambulance people had brought in,” he said.

“It was said I broke a record. The Doctors and nurses were doing their best, they are flat-strap and I felt sorry for the staff but the system is broken, ”Mr Brown said.

The number of public hospital beds available to those over 65 has halved in the last three decades to 15 beds per 1000 people.

The AMA is calling on the federal government to increase their hospital funding from the existing 45-55 split with the states to an even 50-50.

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