When you mix Leftist Ideology and Socialized Medicine

The Australian [Hat tip KG from Crusader Rabbit] - HER trembling fingers pressed the buttons to dial Triple O. She screamed - the phone was dead. Outside the unlocked medical centre on the Torres Strait island of Mabuiag she could hear voices, laughter and wolf-whistles from her alleged attacker and his friends.

In the dark of February 5, the 27-year-old ran to the telephone connection - it had been deliberately turned off. She reconnected it, dialled the emergency number and it diverted to Cairns police, a thousand kilometres away. She revealed how she had just been raped and that the alleged perpetrator was still outside her building with several of his drunken mates. He'd also stolen a bottle of vodka and she feared he would be back. The police officer said he would immediately ring the community police officer on the island, but reported back to the victim that the local representative of the law had responded it was raining and he was not prepared to walk around to the crime scene in the rain, even though he was told the alleged perpetrator was still on the premises.

Desperate and frightened, the young woman crouched at the top of the darkened steps, gripping a crayfish spear, determined, if necessary, to stab the intruder to death when he returned to continue his cowardly assault. The community police officer, only identified as Patterson, later rang a neighbour of the surgery and he came over to be with the nurse. Patterson turned up at 6.30am, after the rain stopped.

At 7.30am the victim rang her director of nursing on Thursday Island. The woman director told her the rape and burglary was unfortunate and that she should return to work at 9am. The nurse said she wanted to be flown out and was told she could catch the only commercial flight at 11am. She replied that could not be done because police were coming (two hours by boat) from Thursday Island to inspect the crime scene and take her statement. They arrived at 12.30pm.

The nurse was told the next day when she repeated her request to be flown home to Sydney that she would be brought only to Thursday Island, no accommodation provided, no medical attention organised and that any days away would be deducted from her pay or leave. It was made clear that Queensland Health did not consider the rape worthy of reporting and they were not prepared to help her.

The nurse mistakenly thought that Queensland Health, with helicopters, doctors, nurses, crisis counsellors, the Royal Flying Doctor Service on call and a Medivac helicopter available at Thursday Island, 30 minutes flight away, would activate an immediate response. In fact, they cut off her pay from that day, and did not pay out her contract until last Friday after details were published in The Australian.

Queensland Health northern area general manager Ms Roxanne Ramsey explained that the nurse's treatment was the result of "a local breakdown in communications in organising for her to be taken from the island". What actually happened was that her boyfriend, who worked on Horn Island, had to fly in by helicopter on February 5, take her by boat the 40 minutes across Torres Strait to Badu Island where she received her first medical help and examination.

He then had to pay $800 to charter a plane to get her to Thursday Island by which time the Queensland Nurses Union had arranged for the department to fly her to Sydney. Just weeks before the rape, a drunk on a nearby island punched a window and broke his wrist, and the department quite happily organised a Medivac helicopter at $13,000 an hour, to have him flown to Cairns.

Mabuiag, like the majority of indigenous communities in Queensland, treats visiting police, teachers, nurses, health workers and other public servants like unwanted and unnecessary filth. They are not welcomed on the island and usually not the slightest effort is made to make them safe or comfortable. For instance, when the nurse arrived on Mabuiag, the clinic and quarters were filthy. There was no running water, no gas to run the stove, no air-conditioning working, intermittent power and no security on her building.

Her report on arrival to her superiors set out that the flat was "filthy with mould and fungus growing everywhere; chewing gum in blinds, used ear-sticks in blinds and cupboards, stove covered with grease, bed bugs, no television, no water to wash with or flush toilets, security screen door at the front hanging off its hinges, no air-conditioning and no blinds or curtains in bedroom or bathroom". Her complaints to the department were ignored.

Just weeks ago a single woman teacher on Mabuiag left because she was frightened by peeping toms who stalked her at night, looking through her windows that had to be kept open because she had no air-conditioning in the oppressive tropical heat. The inevitability of the attack was sounded in a warning in a departmental internal report on all employee accommodation 16 months ago, where the risk was described by as "extreme".

Several weeks ago a man died of a suspected heart attack on Mabuiag. The nurse asked his body be taken by helicopter to Thursday Island for a post-mortem but the department refused, saying it wanted to wait for rain to stop to get a fixed-wing plane in. The nurse had to put the body in a bag on the concrete floor of her clinic, ice it each day as there was no refigeration, and then get a bilge pump from a boat to wash away the melted ice and leaking body fluids. After the third day she rang Thursday Island and said she would have to bury him. They then sent a helicopter.

This is typical of the types of trauma faced by nurses who work alone on communities where there is no doctor and no police officer, and no help from the community which harbours a view that white public servants have a duty to wait on them hand and foot, with no reciprocal response.

No comments:

Post a Comment

All comments containing Chinese characters will not be published as I do not understand them