Heart surgery patients left in limbo


William Geddes is in limbo at Nepean Hospital.
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When Penrith resident William Geddes suffered a heart attack over two weeks ago, he never predicted that his local hospital did not even offer the treatment he required.

Instead, he must be transported from Nepean Hospital to Westmead, but with little to no beds and limited operating space, the backlog of patients awaiting surgery is growing.

Mr Geddes along with a number of other patients are sitting ducks in Nepean Hospital’s Cardiac Ward, awaiting transportation for their life-saving surgery.

Mr Geddes paid credit to the “hard working” and “underappreciated” nurses who are copping it for things such as this that are well out of their control.

“Every morning they come in and say they are pushing for a bed and then they say we made a phone call but we can’t get onto them, it’s out of their control,” he said.

“But with the influx of people moving in and all the new houses being built in the area on top of Penrith being an older community, every bugger is coming in with heart problems and the hospitals just can’t cope.”

Mr Geddes suffered a mid to low range heart attack and requires double bypass open heart surgery and a stenting procedure.

While the hospital can perform the stent, they do not have the staff nor the facilities to perform the cardio-thoracic surgery he requires.

Going through the public health system means those with private insurance or of a higher risk are accelerated to the front of the line. Despite this, Mr Geddes is remaining positive and said he’ll treat the time out like a holiday.

The Weekender contacted Penrith MP Stuart Ayres for comment but he referred the enquiry to the Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District.

“Patients presenting to Nepean Hospital requiring cardio-thoracic surgery, such as cardiac bypass and valve surgery, are referred to Westmead Hospital,” a Nepean Hospital spokesperson said.

“With the construction of the new Nepean Hospital there will be a review of service provision, including cardiac services, to determine what services are required to best meet the needs of the community.”

A number of surrounding hospitals including Blacktown and Mt Druitt also rely on Westmead to perform these procedures.

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