Elderly woman forced to lie on floor of Geraldton Regional Hospital due to lack of beds
Neil MacLachlan’s mother was forced to lie on the floor for two hours when no beds were available. (Supplied: Neil MacLachlan)
The family of an 84-year-old woman say she was forced to lie on the floor in a regional emergency department for two hours because she was in too much pain to sit in a chair and there were no beds available.
- Neil MacLachlan’s mother was taken to Geraldton Regional Hospital in acute pain
- She couldn’t sit down in the emergency room, so had to lie on the floor
- The hospital had five alert situations last year where it ran out of beds
Neil MacLachlan’s mother, who does not wish to be identified, was taken to Geraldton Regional Hospital on Thursday by ambulance, but was unable to sit in a chair due to acute kidney pain.
When Mr MacLachlan asked for a bed for his mother he was told there were none available, but was given some pillows and blankets.
“She was very grateful to be on that floor,” he said.
“When she was seated she was doubled over — if I was not standing in front of her she would have fell out of the chair.
“My thoughts were to make her as comfortable as possible.
“We are not impatient people [but] they could have at least offered her a bed because that was what her immediate need was.”
After two hours, Mr MacLachlan said a nurse offered them a bed in a corridor.
Hospital issues apology
A spokeswoman for the WA Country Health Service said all presentations to the Geraldton Health Campus emergency department were triaged in order of clinical urgency.
“I can confirm all presentations to the hospital were treated in line with their level of priority,” she said.
“In situations where the emergency department is busy and a patient isn’t able to sustain sitting or standing, we will always provide a trolley as soon as possible.
“That aside, we are currently reviewing the circumstances surrounding this incident and have been in contact with the patient to apologise unreservedly.
Health Minister Roger Cook’s office has also been contacted for comment.
Five alerts issued after hospital filled up
The WA Government has committed almost $73 million to upgrade the Geraldton Regional Hospital, but that funding will not be available until 2021.
In 2018 the hospital went into code yellow on five occasions because there were not enough beds, which meant more than 400 elective surgeries had to be rescheduled or cancelled.
In 2018, Geraldton Regional Hospital issued an alert five times when it ran out of beds. (ABC News: Sebastian Neuweiler)
Mr MacLachlan said there was a clear need for more beds at the hospital.
“We need a system which gives appropriate priority to the elderly,” he said.
“And a facility [that] can accommodate the needs of its service area.”