CURRA grandfather Ray Prowd is tall and athletic for his age, but his face caves in and his voice cracks as he tells the story of his wife’s death in Nambour Hospital five years ago and his ensuing war with a “lying” and obstructive Queensland Health.
Emphysema sufferer Valerie (Suzie) Prowd died on January 25, 2005, 16 days after being admitted to Nambour Hospital with a broken leg.
She had been given the powerful pain killer Endone three times while there, despite her severe and debilitating respiratory condition, her apparent bad reaction to the drug, and despite the fact that Endone is not recommended for people with breathing problems.
Since then, Ray’s fight to expose the “cover-up” of negligence he believes caused Suzie’s death has produced five different death certificates, two “investigations”, a briefcase full of paperwork and “lies, lies and more lies”.
Queensland Health yesterday maintained its stance that Endone had not contributed to Suzie’s death and that there was no basis for any allegation of any cover-up at Nambour Hospital.
Ray feels differently, and his frustration and anger at the denials are palpable.
“I want them to be responsible for their actions,” he said from his secluded Curra acreage yesterday.
Nambour Hospital and Queensland Health are in “damage control”, says Ray, and he has had “a gutful of their bloody lies”.
When a Health Quality Complaints Commission (HQCC) investigation determined in 2007 that Nambour Hospital was in no way responsible for Suzie’s death, the case was officially closed. This, coupled with the concerns of Ray’s children that he “would end up joining Mum” if he continued his paper war forced him to let the matter rest for a time.
But an anonymous phone call three months ago urged Ray to use the Freedom of Information Act to obtain transcripts from the second “investigation” in 2007.
What he discovered has stirred him to take up the cudgels once more.
The transcripts revealed expert opinions from three medical specialists, and, incredibly, that Ray was the only person present during Suzie’s hospitalisation who was interviewed for the investigation.
In addition, Ray said much of what he said during that interview was omitted from the official report.
Ray has since contacted the three specialists. He says one failed to respond at all, one told him he did not want to enter into correspondence on the matter, and the third said he had not been told the full story of what had happened during Suzie’s hospitalisation, and that if he had, he would not have submitted the same report to the investigation.
Ray has also used FOI to request copies of the scripts issued for Suzie’s pain relief during her hospitalisation so that he can prove who the prescribing doctor was, and pursue that line of investigation. He would like to hear from other members of the public who have had similar difficulties with the HQCC or Queensland Health.
Attempts to enlist the help of politicians Mark McArdle, David Gibson, Jeff Seeney and Dr Bruce Flegg have brought Ray no satisfaction, but he yesterday vowed to continue his fight “until I find out what the hell happened in that hospital and why the HQCC has lied so much”.
“I lost my wife and these people think it is a bloody great joke,” he said.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.