Labor was embroiled in a new health scandal with revelations that a grandmother died after an overseas-trained doctor failed to treat her properly. Lillian Shaw, 67, died last year in Lowood, west of Ipswich, after Indian-trained GP Dr Jaideep Bali failed to diagnose a perforated stomach ulcer despite visiting her three times in 36 hours. A coronial inquest also found Dr Bali had given the mother-of-seven a potentially fatal injection of morphine 2® hours before she died, and later tried to cover it up.
Mrs Shaw's family and the Coalition yesterday said the Beattie Government had to share responsibility for the tragedy. "It's another Dr Death," said Mrs Shaw's son Karhl Earnshaw. "It goes all the way up to the Beattie Government and the Health Minister. "To say we are furious would be an understatement. If you knew the agony we've been through over the last 18 months . . ."
Mrs Shaw died on the evening of January 13, 2005, two days after she began suffering abdominal pain and vomiting. She was visited at her home in Lowood three times in 36 hours by Dr Bali, a GP from the Lowood Medical Centre. Mrs Shaw's husband, Ian - described by the coroner as "an impressive and intelligent witness" - said the doctor did not examine his wife during any of the visits.
The inquest heard that Dr Bali did not make any record of having administered morphine during his last house call and continued to tell Mrs Shaw's family for some months that he had not done so.
Coroner Matthew McLaughlin concluded that Dr Bali was not a reliable witness and said he strongly suspected the GP had "deliberately been untruthful" and, initially at least, did his best to conceal the fact he had given Mrs Shaw morphine.
Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg said tragedies such as Mrs Shaw's death were "the Beattie Government's real record on health". He said: "The Government has run the health system down so much they have driven away Australian-trained doctors and are desperate to fill the void by giving substandard people licences to practise." Health Minister Stephen Robertson said he had directed Queensland Health to forward the coroner's report to the Medical Board for immediate assessment.
(For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Page. Email me (John Ray) here.)