Cancer survivor affected by floods

THE painful experience of a local cancer survivor has highlighted the lingering impact of last year’s devastating flood events on the city.

Maureen Shaw lives and works high and dry above the impact zone but recently had to endure an excruciating trip to Lismore and back because almost a year after the waters rose and receded, new impacts of the floods are still emerging.

“I went to see my doctor because I was experiencing chronic neck and shoulder pain that had kept me bedridden,” Mrs Shaw said.

“I was worried that it might be something connected to the breast cancer I was diagnosed with six years ago, and so my specialist decided I needed to have an MRI scan at Coffs Harbour Radiology. That’s when I found out that the city’s only MRI scanner was out of service.”

Mrs Shaw said she was given the options of going to Sydney, Brisbane, Port Macquarie or Lismore to have the procedure.

“I decided on Lismore and the trip there and back was sheer hell. I found out the pain was not cancer related but the seven-hour return journey knocked me for six. It has taken me a week to recover enough to get out of bed.”

The practice manager for Coffs Harbour Radiology, Anne Leek, confirmed the MRI machine had been out of service for the past three weeks but said it is due to be back on line soon.

“The MRI machine wasn’t damaged by the floods but we had noticed the floor under it was starting to collapse,” Ms Leek said.

“Once we had that confirmed by an engineer we then drew up a plan of action. Given the MRI machine weighs three tonnes and couldn’t be removed from the building we had to come up with a creative option,” she said.

“Basically we have been moving the machine around the room while sections of the floor were dug up, re-enforced and re-laid. As one section of the floor was fixed we’d move the MRI. around.” Ms Leek said she expects the MRI will be back to full service after Easter.

Mrs Shaw wants to know why there isn’t a second MRI at the local hospital.

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