Patel widow defends hospital
A WOMAN who lost her husband to the 2005 Bundaberg health crisis has leapt to the defence of the Bundaberg Hospital and its staff.
Judy Kemps, 77, said she was “appalled” by the “dredging up” of complaints at the hospital that had already been investigated.
Mrs Kemps’s husband Gerry died following botched oesophagus surgery by Jayant Patel in 2004, and his case formed one of three manslaughter charges the disgraced surgeon was convicted of last year.
She approached the NewsMail after allegations were raised about the hospital on national program A Current Affair on Tuesday night.
The ACA story had been prompted by a 47-minute documentary aired by Member for Burnett Rob Messenger on the same day.
As Queensland Health said the allegations had been investigated and any suggestions of improvements had been taken on board, more than 150 workers at the hospital hit the pavements outside the facility on Wednesday to protest against what they perceived were constant attacks on their work.
Mrs Kemps said she was furious when she heard the “old” allegations had been raised once again.
“(Mr Messenger) keeps coming back to the same old thing,” she said.
“He’ll never give up.”
Mrs Kemps said she felt Mr Messenger was trying to “hold on to the popularity” he gained after he helped crack open the Patel scandal.
But Mrs Kemps said at no stage did she blame the hospital for the botched surgery performed by Patel.
“It was not the hospital – it was system that was at fault,” she said.
“It was not only Bundaberg, it was everywhere in the state that had the problems.”
Mrs Kemps said in recent years she and her family had had excellent service from staff at the hospital.
“The way they are have been working, they’re doing their best in adverse circumstances,” she said.
“I think they are doing a terrific job.”
Mrs Kemps said she was trying to move on from the death of her husband and put the Patel case behind her.
Mr Messenger said he was disappointed Ms Kemps was “attempting to smear the women who appeared on A Current Affair”.
“I understand and respect that Mrs Kemps is a close friend of Beryl Crosby, who is now working for the Labor Government and is a highly paid mouthpiece for Queensland Health, but I’m not entirely surprised Mrs Kemps has joined the lynch mob,” he said.
“But Mrs Kemps is mistaken if she thinks that the Bundaberg Hospital is a shining beacon of medical excellence, and neither she nor others should attempt to shut down scrutiny when people’s lives are clearly at risk.”
Mr Messenger said he was disappointed that nurses were “being used by the ANU (sic) to promote the Labor Government’s agenda of cover-ups”.
“The nurses at the Bundaberg Hospital have my full support, but let’s not forget that the ANU (sic) belongs to the same faction of the Labor Party as Anna Bligh,” he said.
Mr Messenger said he rejected any claims he was trying to capitalise on popularity that came about as a result of uncovering the Patel scandal.