Woman trapped after nasty fall
The 67-year-old Eastern Heights woman was wedged so badly, with her feet on either side of the toilet bowl and the door opening inwards, that she was unable to free herself and spent the week calling for help.
It wasn't until Michael Hibberd was hanging out his washing at his Rex Street home on Sunday morning that he heard her cries.
He jumped the fence and went to his neighbour's back door to see what was wrong, only to discover that behind the closed door she had taken a nasty fall and was unable to get out.
"She said she had been there since about 3am Sunday morning and to me that meant that morning, but she meant last Sunday," Mr Hibberd said.
"She was really quite calm under the circumstances and very coherent, considering she had been there for a week."
Mr Hibberd said he tried to look for a way in but all the doors to the old high-set Queenslander were locked, so he called the police.
Police had to cut their way through the woman's wooden and screen door, only to be confronted by the closed toilet door, which they were unable to open.
Firefighters arrived soon after and were able to manoeuvre the door enough to tend to the woman, before opening the door completely.
The resident, a diabetic, was taken to Ipswich Hospital, where she was treated for severe dehydration and remains in a stable condition.
Mr Hibberd, who has lived beside the woman for a year-and-a-half, said he felt bad that it took him a week to discover her traumatic ordeal.
"It seems a bit 21st Century, how un-neighbourly we are, and I do feel bad in a way that I didn't hear her cry for help sooner, but I'm glad that I was in the right place at the right time and did hear her when I did," he said.
"I think she is extremely lucky. I had originally planned to go out and there is every chance that if I had she might still be there.
"I couldn't see an elderly woman lasting much longer than a week."
Mr Hibberd, who works during the day throughout the week, said it was not abnormal to see no activity at the home.
"I knew an elderly person lived there, but not to hear or see anything coming from the place in a while wasn't out of the ordinary," he said.
"I'd never even seen her collect her mail."
Mr Hibberd said the incident had raised his awareness about making an effort to know neighbours, especially when they were elderly.
"When she does return home from hospital I'm planning on going over and talking to her and keeping my ears and eyes out," he said.