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Tradie suffers horrific skull break, but refused ambulance

Ashley Francis looking worse for wear after a workplace accident left him with a fractured skull and severe concussion.
Ashley Francis looking worse for wear after a workplace accident left him with a fractured skull and severe concussion. Contributed

ASHLEY Francis suffered horrific injuries to his face and skull in a workplace mishap that could have cost his life.

Just hours after the incident, with shattered bone fragments sitting behind his eye and suffering from a severe concussion, the Warwick man was told he would need to be treated in Brisbane - but it was up to him to find his own way there.

What was just another day on the job last week turned into a hellish ordeal for the 21-year-old tradesman, who now has a metal plate in his skull.

"I was working on laying the concrete for the new kitchen up at the hospital early on Thursday morning," he said.

"I was hit in the face by the hand-sized cap that goes over the end of the pipe we use to spray the truck down with.

"I must not have turned off the handle completely because it came off under pressure and launched into my head between 140 to 200 psi.

"I was unconscious after impact and came to after my knees hit the floor and I had my mate yelling to check my head because I was pissing blood."

The force of the cap left Mr Francis with six bone fragments floating behind his eye and a severe concussion.

He said his head was wrapped next to the site office and he was quickly admitted to the hospital.

Despite their severity, he said his injuries were the least of his worries.

"I had to leave the hospital to get my eye examined at another optometrist," Mr Francis said.

"I wasn't given a nurse to go with me even though I had a serious concussion - my boss had to take me.

"They didn't cover my catheter properly during that time either, it was just held in by the tape which could have gotten infected."

Later that night, Mr Francis said he was presented with what he thought were transfer papers.

"They were consent forms for my discharge," he said.

"I had to go to the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane but they wouldn't give me a transfer.

"I was told I couldn't go to sleep because of the concussion and I could die on the way there, but they wouldn't take me in an ambulance even though there were three there doing nothing."

A Queensland Ambulance Service spokeswoman told the Daily News QAS records indicated the service had not received a request for patient transfer for Mr Francis.

Mr Francis said he was also prescribed Keflex despite telling staff he was violently allergic to penicillin and similar antibiotics.

A Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service spokeswoman said though no formal complaint had been received an investigation was taking place.

"We are aware of this case and have made direct contact with the patient and their family to discuss the concerns raised," she said.

"Due to confidentiality, specific details cannot be released at this stage and the outcomes of this investigation will be discussed with the parties involved in accordance with our complaint resolution procedure.

"The DDHHS values all feedback and is committed to providing a quality service for our consumers."

 

SCARRED: Ashley Francis is now back home and off work, with daughter Madeline and partner Tianne Crowley, after suffering a blow to the head which shattered his skull.
SCARRED: Ashley Francis is now back home and off work, with daughter Madeline and partner Tianne Crowley, after suffering a blow to the head which shattered his skull. Sophie Lester

Mr Francis said he intended to contact the hospital about his treatment.

"My sister and my partner, Tianne, ended up taking me to Brisbane on Thursday night and had to make sure I stayed awake the whole time," Mr Francis said.

"I had people at the hospital thinking it wasn't real and asking if it was make-up because my face was like a balloon from all the swelling.

"Once Work Cover came through I was transferred to the Wesley Hospital to have surgery on Friday night for my broken eye socket."

"The surgeon said he was going to go in and either I would be too swollen for him to do anything or he'd clear out the bone fragments and put the plate in.

"Thank God he managed to do it in one go."

Mr Francis is due for a check-up on April 21 to determine whether he had sustained any lasting damage as a result of his injuries.

The young dad is now back home with his partner Tianne Crowley and their 11-month-old daughter Madeline.

"My boss has been really supportive," Mr Francis said.

"I've got at least until the date of the check-up off work to recover.

"I still can't open my eye to write well and am finding it hard to concentrate so once I've recovered a bit more I am planning to write to the hospital.

"I was frightened, not because of the pain as I couldn't feel anything from the adrenaline and then after they had numbed it, but I was worried I was going to lose my sight."

Topics:  darling downs hospital and health service editors picks health warwick people


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