Coast man willing to die instead of surgery in Brisbane
RAY Bevan is prepared to die before he goes to Brisbane for treatment of a skin cancer tumour on his head.
The 77-year-old Maroochydore man had been preparing for surgery at the new $1.8 billion Sunshine Coast University Hospital when he said he was told this week there was no budget for his operation and he would have to travel to Royal Brisbane Hospital.
The former builder and insurance assessor had a basal cell carcinoma removed from his head about 14 years ago and this latest one, a squamous cell carcinoma, had appeared just above the previous tumour.
Mr Bevan said he'd seen a stream of specialists and surgeons at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital over the past couple of weeks in preparation for his surgery.
But earlier this week he was called and told by a woman that he had an appointment with a specialist in Brisbane on Friday.
On Wednesday he was phoned again and told he had to keep the appointment.
Again, Mr Bevan refused, telling them he was having his surgery at SCUH.
"I said 'no, I am not coming down there on Friday'," he said.
He said the woman told him he needed to go down there because it was "too big" of an operation.
Soon after he said he had a call from a staff member at SCUH.
"She said 'look, to tell you the truth, we haven't got the funding to do it. It's a pretty expensive operation'," Mr Bevan said.
"We were all in agreement all the way through.
"Everything was looking rosy right up until yesterday (Wednesday)."
Mr Bevan said it was "disgusting" that there was no budget for his operation at a new hospital he said had been built to stop people on the Coast having to go to Brisbane.
"I've got all my stepchildren and my wife here," he said.
He said he wouldn't be able to recover knowing he was putting others out and his wife would be unable to visit him regularly in Brisbane.
"I'm not sitting on my hands on this," he said.
"If they can't get funding down there to this hospital they may as well go down there and close the doors.
"It's my tumour, if I have to I'll keep it, but I am not going to Brisbane."
Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service chief operating officer Karlyn Chettleburgh said they couldn't comment on an individual patient's treatment without consent, but the "complex surgery" referred to was not currently provided by the service.
"Over the next six months, we will be enhancing Sunshine Coast University Hospital's ability to provide this type of surgery," she said.
"Patients requiring complex surgeries that are not available at SCHHS are referred to other hospitals to ensure they receive the treatment they require.
"In the meantime, patients are managed by their local hospital to ensure they continue to receive care and treatment closer to the home prior to surgery."
State Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington said she sympathised with Mr Bevan and his family.
"Sunshine Coast residents have a brand new world-class hospital but many people are still having to travel to Brisbane for surgery," she said.
"It's really not good enough and I can understand Ray's anger and disappointment."