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Hospital Deaths -

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(generated from captions) Thank you for your time. Thank you for your thoughts too. Thank you, Ray. OK, now to a story that I know will shock you. We've all heard the news reports about Bundaberg Hospital, where it seems at least 87 people died because of the man now labelled Dr Death. What if I told you 50 people die every day because of mistakes in our hospitals. 50 a day! I found it hard to believe too until I read this report to the Federal Government.

It estimates 18,000 Australians died in hospitals in just one year. You go to hospital to get better. You don't expect to come out worse or in a box. Whether you read the autopsy report, we buried a healthy woman. Still very annoyed that doctors in the 21st century can make such stupid mistakes.

This is a better health system than we give it credit for. And I'm frankly sick of the denigration of the Australian health system. REPORTER: the detail on just how many people died linked to Dr Jayant Patel. Under Dr Jayant Patel, 87 patients died in the Bundaberg Hospital - that's 87 mothers and fathers and babies and loved ones.

Believe it or not, Bundaberg Hospital is just the tip of the iceberg. You shouldn't be allowing this number of deaths to be occurring every week, every month, every year in Australian health care. Professor Stephen Bolson is Geelong Hospital's director of anaesthesia. He's a hospital whistleblower with impeccable credentials. The hospital was receiving money for the operations that Dr Patel did -

whether he did them well or whether he did them badly, the hospital was being funded for that.

So mistakes and deaths go on because we need the money? Yes. That's exactly what we did. He came out and said, "I've lost her" She's gone to hospital with an asthma attack and she's just died. And I couldn't believe it

because nobody dies from an asthma attack in this day and age. Bill Long's had a stroke since his beloved wife June died.

So daughter Lorraine and husband Clive look after him. But every day, Bill reminds them of the wife and mother who didn't come home. We believe what the hospital said to us - she died of natural causes. One doctor even said to me, "Your mother had a good innings."

Did the Coroner find malpractice? Yes. Used that word? He contributed the death to the Alfred Hospital and a doctor. They describe your mother's death as an 'adverse event'. Adverse event, yeah. How would you describe it? A waste of a good life. Ruth Sorenson went to an Adelaide hospital with a painful stomach ache.

She was sent home by a doctor without an X-ray or a full medical examination. Mrs Sorenson died a few hours later of a blocked bowel. The Coroner found that the doctor was a deeply troubled medico. The emergency ward is a not a place where you put doctor that's having problems of his own. Two years before Mrs Sorensen's death,

patients had complained about Dr Marrow's behaviour. They said he'd been irrational and hysterical. His own psychiatrist reported to the Medical Board that he was depressed and abusing drugs, that he'd been smoking marijuana 10 times a day. Yet, with all this information, the Medical Board did nothing to protect the patients. They let him come back here and work in emergency. Dr Marrow says he can't remember what happened at the hospital that night?

Well, 10 cones of marijuana and a few antidepressants, I don't think I could remember. Despite admitting to a drug problem, no evidence was presented to the Coroner that showed Dr Marrow was affected that night.

But Eric Sorensen, a veteran firefighter, says that doesn't excuse the medical board. If they're presented with evidence on a regular basis,

they should take action.

The medical board is a part of the problem. It's almost like, "Don't you question us. We're doctors." Since her mother's death 12 years ago, Lorraine Long has been campaigning for hospital safety. How many cases a week, a month, would you have come to your office? We get about 70 a day. 70 a day? Yeah. If hospitals and doctors have done nothing wrong, why do they go to such lengths to cover up nothing? That's Sarah. That's Sarah, OK. The kids have been robbed of a grandfather that they'll never get the opportunity to know. The kids' grandfather, Roy Furlonger, was a champion road cyclist.

Roy had survived falls and traffic accidents, but he didn't survive a simple trip to hospital. Despite having a pace-maker fitted, a doctor mistakingly gave him an MRI scan which killed him. Wasn't fully aware it was a mistake in there because nobody apologised to us or explained to us what had occurred. There was falsification of the records. Which brings us back to all those deaths in the Bundaberg Hospital and the nortorious Dr Patel. Is there a culture of cover-up in hospitals? There can be in some hospitals and as soon as we deal with that culture, which then we'll have a safer health care system. Dr Stephen Bolson knows what he's talking about.

Back in the 1990s, he exposed the needless deaths of 35 babies in one British hospital, changing procedures there forever. Now he's helping Geelong lead the way in making Australian hospitals safer. In an operation, this becomes as an important as a scalpel? I think it can be in terms of saving lives. Registrars in his department now use a simple Palm Pilot, a mini-computer

to report mistakes the moment something goes wrong. So they don't make the same medical mistake twice or 10 times. With respect, it's not common for doctors to say, "I got it wrong, I made a mistake"? The answer to that is I think The answer to that is I t nk the profession is very scared of recording its performance and being judged and being measured.

Are you convinced this would save lives?

Absolutely. How would you describe the way you were treated? Abominably. Yeah. Still hurts us all. People can accept the brutal truth from doctors, but they can't live with the lies. Next, the guarantee of a good night's sleep.