Man asked to leave hospital bed

LESS than 48 hours after having 25 staples and four pins inserted into his back Graeme Johnson was asked to leave Greenslopes Private Hospital in Brisbane because his bed was needed.

Mr Johnson, a Hervey Bay resident, had been admitted to the hospital on Sunday, October 4, to have surgery on his lower back the following Tuesday.

The surgery was for the right L4/L5 Forainotomey and Rhizolysis and was a follow-up surgery from an L4/L5 Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion in which he had 35 staples inserted at the same hospital in February.

In simple terms, Mr Johnson had a spacer inserted between two vertebrae that were painfully grinding against each other.

“The doctor operated to remove bone away from a nerve,” Mr Johnson explained as he recovered in his home.

Despite the large scale of the operation Mr Johnson was forced to book himself into a hotel less than two days after the surgery.

He claims a Greenslopes nurse asked him to leave, saying the hospital was extremely busy and needed his bed.

“They virtually kicked me out,” he said.

“I was under the impression they didn't read I lived in Hervey Bay.”

However, that could not have been the case, if, as Mr Johnson said, the same nurse told him he could get a three-and-a-half hour lift home along the bumpy Bruce Highway as long as he stopped every hour.

He says he was also told he could go back to the hospital if he experienced any problems.

“I didn't feel like there was really any after-care at all,” he said.

“They weren't rude, they just told me I was right to go home but I didn't feel I was - by no means.”

It would be another four days of discomfort before Mr Johnson would be at home because he could not fly from Brisbane to Hervey Bay Airport straight after surgery without a special airline clearance.

So he booked himself into a hotel where his brother and sister, Greenslopes locals, dropped in to change his bandages.

It was an awkward, exhausting process for Mr Johnson, who said he was in pain when taking his medication.

“The point I'm really trying to make is that I was coming out of hospital and into a hotel; I was just left there.

“It's not about the medical treatment; it's that hospitals just get you in and out.”

Mr Johnson had to travel back down to Brisbane last Friday for a post-operative check-up. He will permanently have two screws and a spacer in his back.

The Chronicle gave Greenslopes Private Hospital the opportunity to respond to Mr Johnson's claims however it failed to.

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