Without Due Care
– An Australia Hospital Tragedy
by Therese Mackay
This book is the story of Donald Mackay a quadriplegic man’s shocking medical abuse & death at the hands of a diseased and unaccountable Australia Healthcare System.
My husband, Don Mackay, died because of what was done to him in a major Sydney teaching hospital: a wrong and totally unnecessary operation; a lung mistakenly suctioned for 22 hours at 10 times the correct rate; a severe MRSA – golden staph infection inside his lungs; deadly pneumonia and sepsis which developed during the 36 days he spent there.
The hundreds of errors and the numerous instances of lack of caring listed in this book are only those I witnessed or discovered during the 12 hours I was with Don each day for just over five nightmarish weeks. Common sense tells me many more must have occurred while I wasn’t there. Certainly during the nights Don had tests, was being turned, had body care, had X-rays taken and experienced medical crises. Other events unknown to me also occurred. For my own sanity I believe it is best that I am not able to find out what else happened to him. What I do know will haunt our family for a long time. For me, it will be for the rest of my life.
Knowing the grievous impact on Don of the errors they had made, senior doctors at a Sydney Hospital effectively imposed a blanket ban on any information getting to us about every aspect of Don’s condition, its causes and treatment, alternative options, possible adverse effects of treatment and the probable and actual outcome. Though this may seem an extremely unlikely way for staff of a major hospital to behave, particularly with patients’ rights so well defined these days, it is true. Such morally unacceptable conduct needs to be fully exposed to the public and to the authorities, so as to end – I hope forever – what appears to have become standard practice within this particular, once highly renowned, Australian hospital.
Everything Don was afraid of came to pass. The medical maltreatment and its consequences which Don suffered during the five long weeks of his time in that major Australian public hospital, was the stuff of nightmares. It inflicted upon him a level of pain and trauma which I could not bear to think about if I was to remain sane. Everything that could go wrong did and with dreadful consequences for him. His awful suffering was an abuse of his human rights. Had he been an animal those responsible would have been prosecuted. As it was no one was ever made accountable.
The medical profession, with a level of medical negligence, aided by a sloppy bureaucracy and inefficient Health Ministers and Premiers, covered up what was done to Don. Their investigative arm, the Health Care Complaints Commission’s medical people claimed that all medical treatment accorded to Don, was acceptable. This needs independent investigation.
Read the story and help ensure that not one more person is condemned to have their life ended in such a brutal manner. The medical profession must become accountable for their actions and Governments must act to enforce this. This can only happen when ordinary people demand change. Governments do not act, they react.