Tweed Hospital cancer patient Doris Higlett. Photo: Nolan Verheij-Full / Tweed Daily News
Tweed Hospital cancer patient Doris Higlett. Photo: Nolan Verheij-Full / Tweed Daily News Nolan Verheij-Full

Doris shares her story

DORIS Higlett has given up on the medical system and is turning to God to be healed.

In the past year, the 70-year-old Tweed Hospital cancer care clinic patient has endured four general anesthetics, four rounds of chemotherapy and two infections.

It all began in January last year when cancer was found in her uterus.

With Tweed Hospital unable to operate, the Terranora resident said she was sent to Gold Coast University Hospital to have her uterus removed. She said it took five weeks when the surgical benchmark is 28 days.

"I waited for too long. The whole time I wondered if the cancer had spread," Mrs Higlett said.

At the Gold Coast, Mrs Higlett bore the brunt of what Tweed surgeons say is a hospital overburdened with patients.

She said she was discharged from the hospital on her second night to make way for more admissions.

"It was not enough, but I didn't mind because I understood they needed a bed," she said.

Of the two drips she had to drain her wound and fluids, one was left in too long and the second was taken out too early, Mrs Higlett said.

She later developed "excruciating" infections that were treated twice with antibiotics back at the Tweed.

Two weeks and several tests later, a tumour was found in Mrs Higlett's lymph gland.

She rejected radiotherapy - which would cost hundreds of dollars at John Flynn Private or require travel to Lismore - and chose chemotherapy.

After the first round, her veins could not cope, so she had a chest catheter surgically inserted, followed by another three rounds of chemotherapy.

Two weeks ago she was told her tumour had shrunk from 2-3cm to 0.7cm.

She rejoiced at the news but was too exhausted to continue with treatment.

"And that's when I said, 'No more'," Mrs Higlett said.

She was grateful for the care she had received and calmly accepted she had been "tossed about" by a fragmented medical system.

"I wish we could have all the services we need in the Tweed cancer care clinic," she said.

Mrs Higlett will now seek spiritual healing at Shalom Christian Church.

Meanwhile, doctors continue their fight for extra operating theatres, radiotherapy and a complete cancer care centre at the Tweed Hospital.

Grassroots support of the doctors' campaign is vital for its success, according to Medical Staff Council chair Dr Ian McPhee.

He urged the public to write to political leaders and share Tweed Daily News stories and the campaign logo on social media.

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