Too fat for ultrasound

COFFS Coast woman Jenny Malloy is infuriated after Coffs Health Campus turned her daughter away because she weighed too much for their ultrasound equipment.

Ms Malloy said she took her daughter Aileen, who gave birth to a baby girl just weeks ago and was in pain due to an infection, and her new granddaughter to the Health Campus on Monday, July 23 at 8.30pm.

After an alleged six-hour wait, Ms Malloy said she was told that the Health Campus could not give her daughter an ultrasound because she was 'over weight' (over 90 kilograms) and was advised to make an appointment at a local x-ray centre.

"After talking to the radiologist at the x-ray centre, he informed us that the ultrasound machine he was using was exactly the same as the one used at the hospital," Ms Malloy wrote in an email to The Advocate.

"He also informed us ... another male patient was sent to him because he was over 90 kilograms, but his neck needed the ultrasound. How much fat is on your neck?

"It is unfair that she was not allowed to use the public system because of her weight after just having a baby.

"I'm infuriated by this attitude and the lack of compassion for a young mother and her baby."

When The Advocate yesterday asked why the Coffs Harbour Health Campus couldn't give an ultrasound to patients weighing more than 90 kilograms, the North Coast Area Health Service responded with a statement reading: "It is sometimes necessary for patients to utilise certain specialist services from local providers in Coffs Harbour.

"Private radiologist services are able to be accessed in a timely manner.

"If the patient has further concerns, she is welcome to contact Coffs Harbour Health Campus Management."

A leaked memo, allegedly from Dr Shadley Fataar, acting director of medical imaging at the Coffs Harbour Health Campus to health professionals around the region, confirmed that their ultrasound service could not be provided for patients weighing more than 90 kilograms.

"The only exception to this will be in case of emergencies following consultation with the ultrasound duty radiologist," the memo read.

"It is hoped that replacement equipment will be obtained soon, so that normal ultrasound services can resume."

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