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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 10 Hansard (17 October) . . Page.. 3091..


MRS BURKE (continuing):

not have the benefit of a dedicated oral and maxillofacial surgeon? There are oral and maxillofacial surgeons working in Canberra, though not at the Canberra Hospital. Have they been approached to work at the Canberra Hospital? If they have not, why have they not? What is the situation at the Canberra Hospital that is so complex of resolution that patients are not getting best practice service, to use the terminology of the ACT Health report?

I would like to take a minute or two to flesh out the details of a couple of complaints from some of the patients who are complaining of botched surgery or misdiagnosis at the Canberra Hospital. A man with multiple sclerosis was left with a weakened jaw after an attack and the jaw was subsequently dislocated during another attack. The jaw was corrected by an oral surgeon at a private hospital. However, when it was again dislocated one night, he was taken to emergency at Canberra Hospital. A plastic surgeon managed to reduce the jaw with sedation and with some difficulty, according to the parents. As the jaw kept dislocating they ended up visiting emergency between 30 and 40 times. The man's wife asked why plastic surgeons were dealing with her husband and why she had never been told the hospital has no oral and maxillofacial surgeon on staff.

Before the man could be seen by a private oral surgeon he had to be admitted again to emergency, where he was, according to his wife, totally ignored by doctors and left with his mouth hanging open due to the dislocated jaw, not able to eat or talk properly. The problem was finally corrected when he was operated on by an oral surgeon in a private hospital several days later. His wife wrote in complaint:

It would seem only a matter of time when this appalling situation will lead to someone's death—our experience was terrible but we were fortunate to have already found an oral maxillofacial surgeon on our own and therefore had someone to turn to. What would have happened if this had not been the case? How long would our son have been left in that state with no one making any attempt to do anything?

Mr Speaker, I think this shows the tragedy of what is going on. We are talking about very inadequate treatment and, at worst, gross negligence. This is totally unacceptable. Tonight I call on the Acting Minister for Health to have an oral surgeon appointed at the Canberra Hospital by 1 December this year. I think that is adequate time.

Telecommunications-Fadden and Macarthur

MR PRATT (Brindabella) (6.10): Mr Speaker, tonight I refer to the Fadden-Macarthur decision by ACTPLA, on behalf of Telstra, to site the 3G tower on the rocky knoll some 100 metres south of the water tower on Fadden Ridge as an act of bastardry. The Fadden-Macarthur community have been talking with Telstra for 18 months about preferred locations for a 3G tower in the Fadden-Macarthur area. They had agreed to three or four alternative sites, including one about 300 to 500 metres north of Karalika on Fadden Ridge. That site would have been technically supportable to Telstra; they could have achieved their objectives. The residents were absolutely in agreement with that option, but instead Telstra pushed through to site this tower within 150 metres of houses in an area which is so close to the residential landscape that it is simply unacceptable.


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