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Byron Shire
March 7, 2021

Hospital emergency

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Having lived in this area since 1984 I have myself been in Mullum Hospital, had an expectant mother friend urgently airlifted by Westpac Helicopter during flood from Coorabell to Mullum to have her baby, had close friends in Byron Hospital and visited casualty there myself.

I have had and do have wonderful, hard-working nurse friends currently overworking in both these hospitals.

What I’m leading up to is that some of us were under the impression that both these hospitals would be replaced by a new hospital that was on the agenda/drawing board to be logistically placed to cover both areas, plus service accidents on the highway. This makes sense and, although sad, is practical in ways that would probably not be overly-contentious.

What then does it mean when we suddenly hear that Mullum Hospital now is not going to have access to a night doctor – basically effective immediately? Is this part of a wind-down before building our new hospital?

At the same time, Lismore Base Hospital is receiving major funding and there’s been no word at all of anything regarding Byron Hospital. Hmm. Are we going to totally lose both of our hospitals with reliance then to be placed totally upon the overworked local ambulance and rescue services plus Westpac Rescue Helicopter, which hangs on by its financial fingernails already, to get any/all patients to either Tweed Heads or Lismore? Does anybody out there know what’s going on?

Robyn Dayman
Previously of Rosebank/Wilsons Creek & Bangalow – now living in Alstonville

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  1. It’s scary really!

    I was once rushed from home in Byron by ambulance to Lismore Base for threatened very premie baby. It was a long drive. When I got there they were umming and ahring for ages about whether I should be flown to Brisbane. This process could have been less dangerous if this assessment had been made in Byron. Alas there was no doctor on duty.

    3 months later I gave Birth in the Byron Emergency room while they were waiting for a doctor to arrive to make a similar assessment. The doctor who finally arrived was unprepared, under experienced and un sterile. The midwife saved my babies neck and short-circuited my partner strangling the doctor.

    And Mullum… Who wants to have to crawl all the way down the hill from Main Arm through the umpteen flooded cause-ways to Mullum hospital in the dark… just to find they don’t have a doctor…

    The nurses and midwives in this region work in incredibly under-resourced circumstances. They have to care for extremely sick people in primitive conditions until such time as the assessment is made to send someone to Brisbane where all the machines go ‘ping!’. Isn’t it about time we had some ‘ping’ too!


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