‘Hos­pi­tal close by may save my life’

The Gold Coast Bulletin - - NEWS - CAMP­BELL GELLIE camp­bell.gellie@news.com.au

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.

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