Addyson Hopkins, 4, at Kingaroy Hospital with severe tonsillitis and discharge from her left ear.
Addyson Hopkins, 4, at Kingaroy Hospital with severe tonsillitis and discharge from her left ear. Kaitee Hopkins

'When I touched her she cried': Mum's fury over ER saga

WHEN Kaitee Hopkins' four-year-old daughter became suddenly ill last month, she did everything she could to avoid a visit to the emergency department.

Ms Hopkins gave Addyson Panadol, which relieved her fever on and off for a short time, encouraged fluids and gave her hydralyte ice blocks.

Ms Hopkins said she had never seen her daughter so unwell.

"She has always been a healthy, happy child with very little sickness throughout her four years," she said.

"Usually everyone's first thought would be to take their child to the hospital straight away, and it was mine too but I didn't want to be treated like an incompetent mother and not taken seriously."

After one visit to the Kingaroy Hospital emergency department which resulted in them being sent home, Ms Hopkins booked a doctor's appointment.

It took another three doctor's visits before she felt Addyson was given the treatment she needed.

 

Addyson Hopkins, 4, was continuously turned away from the Kingaroy Hospital emergency department with severe tonsillitis and discharge from her left ear.
Addyson Hopkins, 4, at Kingaroy Hospital with severe tonsillitis and discharge from her left ear. Kaitee Hopkins

"We saw our local GP who spoke with me and said regardless of this consultation I would need to present with her to Kingaroy emergency department as she was clearly dehydrated and at this point hadn't passed urine coming up close to 48 hours," she said.

"The GP gave me a letter to present at Kingaroy Hospital which I handed over and then we waited.

"She had severe tonsillitis and discharge from her left ear.

"The doctor wrote a script and even after me expressing my concerns of dehydration and being sent to the hospital from the GP for this exact reason we were once again brushed off."

 

Addyson Hopkins, 4, was continuously turned away from the Kingaroy Hospital emergency department with severe tonsillitis and discharge from her left ear.
Addyson Hopkins, 4, at Kingaroy Hospital with severe tonsillitis and discharge from her left ear. Kaitee Hopkins

Several hours later, early in the morning, Ms Hopkins woke to her crying daughter who was once again burning up.

"Every time I touched her she cried, she couldn't stand any light, her breathing was rapid and at this point it was the worst I've ever seen her, so I made the choice to ring an ambulance," she said.

Paramedics transported Addyson and Ms Hopkins from Yarraman to Nanango Hospital, however with no doctor on call, nurses told her to take her daughter to Kingaroy Hospital.

Ms Hopkins had to call her mother in Yarraman to pick her up from Nanango and drive her and Addyson to Kingaroy.

"The fifth doctor to see Addyson at this hospital took one look at her and informed me that she would be getting admitted and staying on IV fluids and IV antibiotics until the following morning at least, where she would then be reviewed again," Ms Hopkins said.

"The relief I felt for my daughter was so overwhelming."

Ms Hopkins said she had tried everything as a mother to help her sick daughter and avoid visiting the emergency department.

"I know my daughter best... I had never seen her like this," she said.

HEAVY DEMAND ON OUR EMERGENCY ROOMS

ACCORDING to the latest Queensland government data, 1243 people presented to the Kingaroy emergency department in July alone.

Queensland Health's chief clinical information officer Professor Keith McNeil said while no one was ever turned away from emergency, residents needed to go to a GP rather than emergency departments for many minor issues.

Across the Queensland Health network, patients have turned up to emergency rooms to be treated for acne, hiccups, ingrown nails, blisters, warts, sunburn, sprains and bruises.

"We continue to have Queenslanders turning up for prescription refills, medical certificates and contraception management," Professor McNeil said.

Anyone unsure about where to go can call 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84) for advice.

In the event of an emergency, call triple zero (000).