Drunks create menace in Coast emergency wards

13 Mar
Saturday night in Surfers Paradise is too much for some revelers. Picture: Lucinda Pearson

Saturday night in Surfers Paradise is too much for some revelers. Picture: Lucinda Pearson

By Lucinda Pearson, Bond University Journalism Student

The Coast’s drinking and party culture is negatively impacting our hospitals’ emergency departments, say senior doctors.

Alcohol related emergencies account for more than 400 attendances in emergency departments at any one time, a recent survey from the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine (ACEM) has shown.

The ACEM said that the survey, which looked at 92 emergency departments across Australia at 2am on a Saturday, revealed that one out of seven patients attended as a result of alcohol.

ACEM emergency physician Dr Diana Egerton-Warburton said that not only did these preventable attendances clog up  hospitals, but they also created an intolerable environment for hospital staff and other patients.

“With one in three patients affected by alcohol, it’s more like a pub than a hospital,” she said.

“Imagine attending an emergency department with a sick child or elderly relative and having your care disrupted or delayed by a person affected by alcohol.”

Gold Coast Hospital emergency physician Dr Gerben Keijzers said that while the alcohol-related attendances are annoying to doctors and unfair on other patients, staff had a duty of care to look after anyone that came in the door.

Alcohol abuse creates problems for medical staff. Picture: Lucinda Pearson

Alcohol abuse creates problems for medical staff. Picture: Lucinda Pearson

“When people have problems that are self inflicted you feel less empathetic, than say if someone gets appendicitis,” he said.

“However, of course we still look after them. There is a risk of being too judgmental.”

Dr Keijzers said that the issue needed to be addressed at a broader social level for there to be any real change.

“When they come to the emergency department, it’s already pretty late,” he said.

“We do provide people with alcohol counseling options, but they need to want to change their behaviour.”

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: