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Byron Shire
March 9, 2021

Coroner slams hospital care

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A coroner has slammed Lismore Base Hospital as ‘incapable of providing emergency care for the region’ in his findings on the death of a man who suffered a stroke at the hospital last year.

Coroner Jeff Linden was scathing of the hospital in his findings last Friday after a three-day inquest into the death of 40-year-old Goonellabah man Glen Peter Rubbo.

Mr Linden said overworked staff were forced to treat patients in ‘dilapidated conditions’ to such an extent that an upgrade of the emergency department could not wait until completion of the $80-million planned refurbishment and expansion of the emergency department.

APN media reported that Mr Linden called for urgent action to expand the emergency department until the proposed expansion was completed.

He also recommended that blood-analysis facilities be made available urgently at the hospital; these could have prevented Mr Rubbo’s death if they had been in place.

Mr Rubbo had attended the hospital complaining of feeling dizzy and unsteady on his feet and collapsed in the carpark outside the emergency department where he had been waiting because the waiting room was full.

A post mortem indicated early features of stroke were not recognised by medical staff and a doctor who treated Mr Rubbo told the inquest that alternative treatments for stroke relied on blood-test results, but Mr Linden found the hospital was incapable of analysing blood fast enough.

Meanwhile, the chair of the hospital’s medical staff says the planned multi-million-dollar upgrade of the emergency department would not have saved Mr Rubbo’s life.

Dr Chris Ingall told APN media that the refurbishment would not improve patient flow out of the department which would still be ‘bedlocked under the current plan’.

‘We are looking to ask the minister to reconsider the plans so the beds can be made available and this won’t happen again,’ Dr Ingall said.

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