The Health News – 2 February 2017

Overview:
• Surgeons at the Redcliffe Hospital had operated on the wrong part of Mark Beilby’s abdomen. Mr Beilby’s case is one of 47 serious errors that occurred in the Queensland public health system between 2010 and 2015.

• Public health alerts were issued during a thunderstorm asthma outbreak last year in Melbourne, which has been linked to 9 deaths. Experts said emergency chiefs did not understand the cause of the crisis and more lives could have been lost if the triple-0 service had not acted quickly.

• Sudden cardiac arrest has caused the unexplainable death of Captain Ross Dennerstein, a fit and active family man who regularly attends medical tests that all commercial airline pilots are required to undertake.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the  2nd of February 2017. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-02-01/queensland-doctors-operate-wrong-body-parts-new-report-finds/8233094

Mark Beilby felt “sick to the pit of [his] stomach” when he lifted his shirt and realised surgeons had operated on the wrong part of his abdomen.

In 2013, Mr Beilby was booked in for surgery at the Redcliffe Hospital to fix an epigastric hernia, which occurs when fat pushes through the abdomen wall and causes a lump.

At the time he also had another abdominal hernia five centimetres away, although that was not causing him any troubles.

Documents … showed doctors admitted to accidently operating on the second hernia – a mistake Queensland Health’s deputy director-general Dr John Wakefield described as “unacceptable and preventable”.

Mr Beilby’s case is one of 47 serious mistakes, or sentinel errors, that occurred in the Queensland public health system between 2010 and 2015.

The figures were released …as part of a federal Productivity Commission report.

Some of the incidents recorded in Queensland included operations on the wrong body parts, surgical instruments left inside people’s bodies and seven cases of medication-dispensing errors which led to death.

Mr Beilby said he believed a standard surgical checklist was not followed and other administrative errors contributed to his incorrect surgery.

Mr Beilby said he considered himself lucky, but believed there were … problems within the health system.

“I’ve walked away, many other people don’t,” he said.

With more than 1 million cases of care in Queensland’s health system each year, Australian Medical Association Queensland president Chris Zappala said the percentage of mistakes was extremely low.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-02-01/thunderstorm-asthma-in-melbourne-not-understood-review-finds/8230834

Few public health alerts were issued during Melbourne’s deadly thunderstorm asthma outbreak last year because emergency chiefs did not understand the cause of the crisis, a review has found.

The rare phenomenon was triggered by a severe storm that swept through the city on November 21 last year, carrying pollen particles that crippled people with asthma attacks and breathing problems.

The asthma epidemic has been linked to the deaths of nine people, but the inspector-general for emergency management, Tony Pearce, concluded more lives could have been lost if the triple-0 service, paramedics and hospitals had not acted so swiftly.

The report found the rapid onset and scale of the emergency was unexpected and unprecedented.

Triple-0 call-takers answered almost four times the number of calls they took during the Black Saturday bushfires and paramedics dealt with 2,036 cases.

The Victorian Government has pledged to overhaul the way the health department manages emergencies.

It will also spend $700,000 on research to better understand and predict the phenomenon of thunderstorm asthma and $300,000 to expand the state’s pollen monitoring network.

A final report is due in April.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-02-01/sudden-cardiac-arrest-research-trust-established-pilots-death/8228566

Captain Ross Dennerstein was a fit and active family man who was regularly put through the medical tests that all commercial airline pilots are required to undertake — so when he suddenly and unexplainably died at home aged just 47 last October, his family was left reeling.

Now they want answers.

“He was highly monitored, all the guidelines were followed … and yet this happened and has devastated the family,” Mr Dennerstein’s mother Lorraine told ABC News Breakfast.

[She said] “Since he died there has been another two similar deaths of fathers at my grandson’s school. So that’s in the last three months.”

The cause of the … death[s] has since been identified as sudden cardiac arrest — something an estimated 15,000 Australians die from each year, including many young people.

In the face of such personal tragedy, his family has set up the Ross Dennerstein Trust to help fund research into causes and prevention.