A 93-year-old man with a heart condition was forced to sit in the overcrowded QEH emergency department - and close to vomiting patients laying on the floor - going 23 hours without a pillow, instead handed a folded blanket as a “precious commodity” substitute.
The ED was so overcrowded that no seats were free, and staff had to direct patients to sit on the floor amongst others who were vomiting into sick bags.
The devastating incident occurred from Monday about 5pm and further highlights a crumbling health system under Peter Malinauskas and his Labor government.
The elderly man’s daughter said she didn’t call an ambulance because of ramping, and because her father had been ramped for hours just two weeks earlier.
The elderly man was placed in a recliner and when his daughter asked a nurse for a pillow, she was told: “we don’t have any, it’s a precious commodity.”
The best staff could muster - up until 4pm on Tuesday - was a small, folded blanket.
This morning, Peter Malinauskas refuted claims made by frontline healthcare workers that the health system was facing a pillow shortage, despite multiple examples of the issue.
This latest incident follows a string of health-related disasters for Peter Malinauskas, who this week attempted to weasel out of his commitment to “fix ramping” after the worst 10 months on record.
Following the cochlear ear implant heartbreak, the desperation to walk back on a clear promise to fix ramping, and a shocking ‘fit to sit’ Labor policy to clear the appearance of ramping, the Opposition will today move for a motion of no confidence in Health Minister Chris Picton.
Leader of the Opposition, David Speirs, said “this horrifying revelation that an elderly man had to use a folded blanket as a makeshift pillow for more than 20 hours is unacceptable and flies in the face of Peter Malinauskas’ faux assurances that there is no pillow shortage in our hospitals.”
“Peter Malinauskas has had a shocking week when it comes to Labor’s mismanagement of the health system and their shocking failures are clearly linked to the Premier’s desperate attempt to backflip on his promise to fix ramping,” Mr Speirs said.
“Peter Malinauskas promised South Australians he would fix ramping, but since Labor won government our health system has never been worse, in fact ramping is at record levels and it’s putting patient safety at risk.”
Shadow Minister for Health, Ashton Hurn, said South Australians deserve the very best health system but they are being let down by the Minister, Premier and Labor government.
“South Australians would rightly feel let down and disappointed by the Minister and the fact it seems he no longer has these types of issues as a priority – the types of issues Labor promised to fix,” Mrs Hurn said.
“Our health system is under extraordinary pressure and not only are Labor attempting to waive the white flag on ramping, but they can’t even get the basics right. South Australians deserve better.”