Future is brutal for Tweed patients
A SENIOR SURGEON says a lack of funding has meant Tweed Hospital heart and bowel surgery patients have faced brutal outcomes.
Tweed Hospital patients only have the option of a colostomy bag for faecal incontinence following bowel surgery, instead of the simple battery-operated pelvic floor pacemaker which is offered to private patients at John Flynn Hospital.
One of only three surgeons in Australia to have implanted over 100 of the Medtronic pacemakers, Dr Stephen White was disappointed patients missed out on the life-changing procedure, which prevents some of the side effects and discomfort of a colostomy.
This includes excessive bleeding, infection and a portion of bowel protruding through the stomach, kidney stones and gall stones.
Dr White said the same disparity was seen in cardiology, where stroke patients only had the option of medication.
"Here you've got to take pills for the rest of your life because you can't get a heart pacemaker, and if you're incontinent you'll have to get a colostomy, because you can't get your pelvic nerve stimulator - that's pretty brutal," he said.
"If only the health department could try and create parity, I just think there is a lot of disparity between what the public and the private get."
The Northern NSW Local Health District's response was: "Cardiac pacemakers are not performed at the Tweed Hospital due to its role delineation.
"Rectal Pacemakers are a very new procedure and are not performed at the Tweed Hospital."
Clinicians are calling for urgent funding of the Tweed Hospital Redevelopment Plan for infrastructure, such as hospital beds and ward extensions.