Wednesday, 10 Oct, 2007 Offbeat

A 91-Year Old Patient Left Alone in a Storeroom


Mrs King, a 91-year-old patient of Royal North Shore Hospital, was suffering from blood clots in her legs, having been left alone in a medical equipment storeroom with no emergency buzzer. A photograph of Mrs King lying on a hospital bed was published today in The Daily Telegraph claiming the elderly lady was photographed in the hospital's storeroom.

However, NSW Health Minister Reba Meagher and NSW Health director-general Debora Picone said the lady was photographed in a patient treatment room, not a storage room. According to Professor Picone, Mrs King was moved to the treatment room, just opposite the nurses' station, after her attempts to get out of her ward bed. The NSW Nurses Association also stated the reason of Mrs King's transfer was to allow the staff keep a closer eye on the patient during the night shift.

According to the association's assistant secretary Judith Kiejda, it was normal practice to move a patient closer to the nurses' station overnight. On night shift nurses avoid wandering around unless they absolutely have to, not to disturb other patients. If a nurse is concerned about a patient, she wheels him/her closer. The assistant secretary added the treatment room was properly equipped with all the necessary things as well as some other things in it.

Ms Kiejda said nurses at the Royal North Shore hospital were distressed about this story. Professor Picone stated that the nurses primarily considered the patient's welfare when making the decision to move Mrs King from her ward bed to the patient treatment room opposite the nurses' station. She added the patient was confused and had made attempts to leave her ward bed.

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