Long painful 10-year wait for public surgery continues

Jean Nelson, supported by her son Wayne, was waiting for more than 10 years for a knee operation but had it cancelled at the last minute.
Jean Nelson, supported by her son Wayne, was waiting for more than 10 years for a knee operation but had it cancelled at the last minute. Robyne Cuerel

AFTER living in crippling pain every day for the past 13 years, an elderly Hervey Bay woman has been told by her doctors that they cannot give her the knee replacement she has been desperately waiting for.

Ten years after her name was put on the public waiting list, Jean Nelson, 79, was finally set to undergo knee replacement surgery at St Stephen's Private Hospital in Maryborough at 9am on Wednesday.

Instead the Point Vernon woman spent the morning in tears after receiving the devastating news that the operation had been cancelled.

"I got a call from St Stephen's at 10am (on Tuesday)," she said.

"They told me I was booked in for surgery at 9am the next day.

"I couldn't believe it - I thought 'at last, it's finally happening'.

"Then at 4.20pm the doctor called back and said they'd decided to cancel the operation because if something went wrong there wouldn't be enough doctors and specialists there to help.

"It was a shock."

Mrs Nelson said she had been offered the surgery at the private hospital instead of Hervey Bay Hospital after a nasty fall.

"They asked me what I would do if I could have the operation at a private hospital within the next few weeks without it costing a cent.

"Of course, I said 'Yes'."

A St Stephen's spokeswoman said staff had cancelled the operation due to clinical patient safety "specifically related to the patient".

The Chronicle understands that Mrs Nelson's health may have been at risk if the operation proceeded on Wednesday.

Queensland Health was contacted on Wednesday morning for comment about why the woman had been on the public waiting list for 10 years. The department did not provide a response.

Mrs Nelson's son and carer Wayne said the family was absolutely gutted.

"My mother has a very high pain tolerance but it's become too much," he said.

"She can't stop crying.

"We feel like, because mum is so old, they couldn't be bothered."

Topics:  editors picks queensland health st stephen's private hospital waiting lists

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