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Say what you like about Clive Palmer but his offer to donate 5 life support machines for Adelaide’s Women’s and Children’s Hospital after a cluster of baby deaths is a pretty fantastic act of decency. And we don't see much of that these days. 

The babies would normally be transferred to Melbourne but with the border restrictions, that did not occur. He has highlighted the need for South Australia to have its own surgical capability for the care of little ones with cardiac health issues. 

Mr Palmer said he felt for the SA parents’ “anguish and suffering” from losing their babies and thought there was something he could do.

So why on earth did the Premier of South Australia say " No " ?

 Mr Palmer felt the need for a Cardiac Oxygen Service was urgent so he offered to buy 5 lifesaving machines. Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machines are used to replace the function of the heart and lungs to support critically ill patients.

“I think this is a medical emergency. I think we need emergency action."

“I understand it’s been costing the SA government between $4m and $5m every year to try to take dying babies over to Victoria to get some treatment there.

“I think they need medical treatment quickly and it needs to be in SA and thought if I donate the machines, surely the government can carry out the operating costs which would be cheaper than the $5m they spend now and SA babies can have the chance to live.”

Obsetrician Professor John Svigos said that the four babies who had died in Adelaide in the past month had been unable to be transferred and would have “almost certainly” benefited from on-site surgery.

He told a South Australian public health services committee hearing that “there are consequences” to any delays or decisions to cut health services.

“Particularly in our current COVID situation where the usual process of referral to the Melbourne cardiac unit is no longer tenable and referral to Sydney is on a case-by-case basis,” he said.

“I’ve been given to understand that the Women’s and Children’s Hospital has sadly seen the deaths of three babies in the past four weeks who were unable to be transferred, who almost certainly would have benefited from on-site cardiac services. That figure is now four.

“I shall leave it to you to imagine the profound effect of these deaths on the parents, their families and the dedicated medical and nursing staff dealing with these tragedies.

“The WCH Alliance would humbly ask how many more deaths of babies and young children will the community and staff be forced to endure?”

 A spokesperson for the Women’s and Children’s Hospital (WCH) in Adelaide said

“South Australian children will always have access to the health services they need.”

“To ensure young South Australians receive the best possible treatment, some patients may need to travel to interstate due to the specialised nature of care they require.

“We transfer our patients who require complex paediatric cardiac surgery to the Royal Children’s Hospital, as it remains the safest option and offers the best care for our children and their families.

“We are working closely with our clinicians to develop a service proposal for the use of ECMO (a cardiac oxygen service) for children in South Australia.

“Paediatric cardiac surgery services are currently under review with the Network’s Board.

“The quality of the services we provide is always our number one priority and South Australian families should rest assured that our hospital continues to provide the safest care for our patients.”

But the Premier doesn't want Clive's help . Apparently “It’s not about money, whatsoever. It’s what’s in the best interest of babies in SA and the expert advice received to date is very clear,”

Can someone please tell these experts and Premiers to forget their egos and start doing their jobs? These border closures, lockdowns and so called experts seem to be playing God with other people's lives.

 

 

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