Lousie Clune's son had to plug his fluids into a kitchen wall due to a bed shortage at Lady Cilento.
Lousie Clune's son had to plug his fluids into a kitchen wall due to a bed shortage at Lady Cilento.

Teen cancer patient treated in hospital kitchen

A BROOKWATER mum has released a photo of her son receiving post-chemotherapy fluids in a kitchen at the Lady Cilento Children's Hospital due to a bed shortage.

Louise Clune said the photo was taken in April where her son Ryan, 13, was being treated.

"Our big issue is they're talking about shelling money out for a name change over providing the beds and the staff that we need to provide a high quality of care for these children," she said.

Ryan was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma in his temple and had surgery to remove it, and he then underwent intensive chemotherapy and radiation treatment.

Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital. Photographer: Liam Kidston.
Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital. Photographer: Liam Kidston.

"To have chemo, most of it's done on the day ward in 5C, but then you get admitted up to the ward which is 11B, but you can sit there waiting for hours for a bed even though your treatment's finished," Ms Clune said.

"A lot of chemos need fluids, and kids are usually on fluids for 12-24 hours after chemo, and to watch out for any side effects.

"In that photo, my son had his chemo downstairs. They were finishing for the night, the bed still wasn't ready, so they moved him up to the ward and sat him on the couch in the family room area where people come and get their tea and coffee and heat up something to eat."

Ms Clune said her son sat in the area with his equipment plugged in between kitchen appliances for two or three hours.

"Other parents were walking around getting stuff for their kids. Luckily it only happened to us the once," she said.

"But it wasn't a sterile environment, there was no resuscitation equipment, there's no toilet.

"He shouldn't have been discharged from 5C up into the ward without a bed, but that comes down to the bed shortage they have in that hospital.

"If he'd had an adverse reaction, there's no nurse call button. It was a couch in a public area on a ward."

Ms Clune said Ryan was later given a bed, but she has contacted Health Minister Steven Miles' office about the issue.

"Why are they even considering wasting money on a name change when this money needs to be put into basic services and staff?" she said.

Ms Clune added parents were incredibly supportive of LCCH staff, but the staff needed adequate resources and funding to do their jobs.

"They may have a bed booked for us but the nature of children is they don't get discharged on time," she said.

"They can hold them in longer and that pushes the bed allocations out and that's why they need sufficient beds to have a safe place for these children."

Children's Health Queensland gave the following response to a request for comment on the story.

"Patient safety is a priority for Children's Health Queensland and the Lady Cilento Children's Hospital.

"Patient care and treatment is always provided and administered in a safe and clinically appropriate setting."



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