The misadventures that almost killed 4766 Queenslanders


SLOPPY surgeons forgot instruments inside 28 patients, with 22,683 Australians harmed through "medical misadventure'' in public hospitals in just one year.

New Productivity Commission data also reveals that 6000 Queenslanders are queuing over two years for free dental treatment, while one in three patients waits at least four hours for treatment in a hospital emergency department.

A report to be made public today shows that a Victorian patient died after doctors operated on the wrong person or body part.

And 28 patients across Australia - including two Queenslanders - needed new operations to remove surgical instruments that doctors left inside them in 2017-18.

Another 16 patients died after being given the wrong drugs in hospital - including four Queenslanders.

A baby was given to the wrong family in Western Australia.

The official data reveals that 24 patients killed themselves while in hospital, including four Queenslanders who suicided in mental health units.

Bungles in Queensland public hospitals harmed 4766 patients due to "misadventures during surgical and medical care''.

Another 5171 Queensland patients suffered infections after surgery.

Patients who had their tonsils removed were the most likely to end up back in hospital, with 6 per cent of patients requiring readmission for complications.

Three per cent of patients with a knee or hip replacement, or a hysterectomy, needed further surgery.

Patients were twice as likely to fall and hurt themselves in a public hospital than in a private hospital.

Tens of thousands of Australian patients have been affected.
Tens of thousands of Australian patients have been affected.

The data shows that 6.3 per cent of Queensland patients were harmed through hospital bungles and infections, compared to 7.1 per cent in NSW, 5.6 per cent in Victoria, 8.3 per cent in Tasmania and 7.4 per cent in South Australia.

The Productivity Commission report card on government services also shows that Queenslanders are waiting longer in emergency departments.

Nearly a third of patients were not seen on time and waited more than four hours for emergency treatment in 2018-19.

And nearly 60,000 Queenslanders are waiting up to two years for free dental treatment.

The data shows that in 2018-19, half the Queenslanders queuing for public dental care had to wait 18 months for treatment.

Six thousand Queenslanders needing a filling or other dental work had to wait an average 741 days - more than two years.

Another 16,744 were waiting for denture care in 2018-19, with 10 per cent waiting more than a year.

Queensland Health Minister Steven Miles yesterday slammed the Federal Government for slashing $8.7 million a year in funding to state dental services.

"Because of this Queenslanders are having to wait longer for public dental,'' he said.

"This cut is equivalent to the cost of dental care for around 14,500 Queenslanders.''

Mr Miles said the existing federal-state funding agreement for dentistry would end in June.

He said emergency doctors had dealt with a "massive increase in demand''.

The latest data shows that ER doctors treated a record 1.56 million patients in 2018-19.

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