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Wednesday, 17 October 1984
Page: 1857


Senator GARETH EVANS —Yesterday Senator Primmer asked me as Minister representing the Minister for Defence a question about the treatment of a patient at Woomera Base Hospital. The Minister for Defence has now provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question: A person with an infected leg wound was brought by fellow Roxby Downs demonstrators to Woomera Hospital on the morning of 22 September 1984. The name of the person was not given. He was seen by Dr Narayan, the specialist surgeon at the hospital. Dr Narayan has reported as follows:

Apparently the patient had had an operation on his left upper leg two weeks before and had had a K-nail inserted into the femur. While at the boycott the wound had become infected. He had not sought any medical advice.

On the previous Friday he had gone to the Andamooka hospital and was seen by the duty sister who changed the dressings and asked him to proceed to Port Augusta hospital.

I told him very clearly that this being a base hospital it was only meant to treat patients who support this centre and also protestors in cases of very serious medical emergencies. I did not consider that this was a serious medical emergency because he had had this problem for the last 8-10 days. I advised them to proceed to Port Augusta hospital to get treatment at a public hospital.

The protestors were politely asked to vacate the office before the Police were called.

The protesters then occupied my office at which stage I requested assistance from both the State, and as they were busy, the federal police. The police arrived in 10 minutes and cleared the office.

I telephoned the Port Augusta Hospital later that afternoon and ascertained that the man had been admitted.

Departmental instructions to the area administrator for dealing with matters that could arise out of the presence of demonstrators at Woomera included ' hospital and ambulance services to be provided in emergencies'.