‘Hospital close by may save my life’
LEON Cooper is known as the miracle man and has survived numerous heart attacks.
But the next one could kill him simply because he lives too far away from a Queensland hospital.
The 71-year-old Kingscliff resident is one of almost 17,000 NSW patients admitted to Queensland hospitals each year.
He has lived in the Tweed for 41 years and while residents and politicians create blockades and talk of black bans on the proposed $534 million Tweed Valley Hospital, Mr Cooper just wants its comprehensive cardiology service as soon as possible.
“If I have another heart attack I would just have to go across the street to the new hospital and I would have more chance of surviving,” said retired taxi driver who lives across the road from the site.
Mr Cooper had a triple heart bypass in 1990, a double bypass in 1996, multiple stents in 1999 and last April he was put into an induced coma as a result of heart issues.
“I’ve been to every hospital on the Gold Coast,” he said.
“With the attacks I get, sometimes it is the difference of minutes whether or not I survive.
“One time I was that bad, I was taken to John Flynn Hospital at Tugun because I wouldn’t have survived if they took me to Gold Coast Hospital.”
On Monday protesters who oppose the Cudgen site stopped construction workers entering the property for six hours.
They were joined by Tweed Mayor Katie Milne protesting against the hospital being built on “State Significant Farmland’’.
Cr Milne proposed making
a motion for the Tweed Shire Council to use council trucks to blockade the work site and black ban businesses associated with the 2700-job project from council contracts.
She backed away from those comments the following day.
Emergency anaesthetist Dr Ian McPhee, who headed The Tweed Hospital Medical Staff Council until his forced retirement as a result of cancer in early 2016, said construction couldn’t start soon enough.
He led the charge for a new hospital for nine years in a bid to provide all the services the Tweed needed.
“The vision for a new facility was always to bring an element of self-sufficiency wherever possible,” he said.
“Two principle services we have always pitched to be brought to that facility were cardiology and cancer care.
“They are the most common diseases for certainly later age people and these diseases are in large part always managed at facilities beyond the Tweed.”
Once Dr McPhee retired Dr Mike Lindley Jones took over his position on the medical staff council.
“There is a real need for this hospital as we are constantly full at the Tweed,” he said.
“(Yesterday) there were 19 patients waiting for beds in the emergency department (which has a total of 27 beds).
“We are sad that the new hospital has caused this controversy but we’re keen that there should be no delays.”
Kingscliff resident Leon Cooper, who has survived multiple heart problems and surgeries, says a hospital close by may be what saves his life.