2 Jul. 2007

Sicko Doctors and Dead Aussie Battlers

Australian police have arrested a man in connection with the attempted car bombings in the UK. Turns out he was a doctor working at the Gold Coast Hospital, which is less than a KM from where I am sitting.
Attorney-General Philip Ruddock said the man is an Australian resident, not a citizen, but he would not say how long he has been working in Australia.

The Gold Coast hospital, like most public hospitals in Australia, is a bloody disgrace. My father died of cancer there a couple of years back after hospital doctors failed to properly diagnose his curable form of cancer (Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma). The bitch in the Emergency department made Dad sit and wait for five hours instead of rushing him into Oncology, as the letter from his GP instructed. Then she told him to go home, because "Oncology is closed now". The whole hospital basically closes down on weekends (as we were repeatedly told), so she told him to come back on Monday. She said she would make an appointment, but she didn't. Dad eventually waited five days before he even got to see a hospital doctor.

The doctors did a bunch of tests over two days, then told him he had cancer, it couldn't be operated on, and he was going to die. A smarty-pants young surgeon sent him home and told him to take Panadol if the pain got too bad.

A few days later, Dad was back in his GP's office, begging for something to help with the pain.

"What are you doing here?" said the GP. "I thought I sent you to hospital!"

Dad was rushed into a private hospital ward, where he was finally diagnosed, and given proper pain relief. But by the time he started on a course of treatment, it was already too late.

But I digress.

My point is that the Gold Coast hospital is a disgrace. The overcrowded Emergency department has holes in the fibro walls, big enough for rats to crawl through, and blood stains too (the staff explained that they were too busy to clean them). A student doctor from Denmark apologized to us repeatedly for the long delays, which never occur in his country. Sure, things are worse in Michael Moore's USA... But enough, I digress again.

My point is that the Australian hospital system is a disgrace. Governments at all levels are to blame, and the latest government reviews are just patchwork PR stunts. We are forced to rely on overseas doctors, including the notorious Doctor Death, partly because our University system is also a disgrace, with overseas students filling places for super-expensive medical degrees. This is the ugly side of globalization gone mad, and we ordinary Australians are paying for it with out lives.

So my question is: what was this doctor doing in Australia? Was his visa rushed? Was his background checked?

Just wondering.

Answers please, Mr Ruddock.

UPDATE: The Murdoch Herald Sun says he was a general surgery registrar at the Gold Coast Hospital, arrested on Monday night at 11 o'clock as he tried to board an International flight from Brisbane airport:
Today, Queensland Premier Peter Beattie revealed the arrested suspect had successfully applied for the hospital job after answering an ad in the British Medical Journal.

He said Federal authorities were investigating how the man was able to win a job at the hospital and what immigration process he underwent.

Mr Beattie said the doctor had "excellent references" and was considered a "good citizen", and had been employed since June 2006.

He also revealed the man had earned his internship in India, and had been recruited from Liverpool in England.
SMH has more:
He was offered the position on June 20, and started work on September 4, as a "junior doctor who was supervised by more senior staff'' and rostered to general medicine and emergency...

Mr Beattie said he hoped overseas-recruited doctors working in Queensland hospitals would not be targeted as a result of the arrest.

"It's really important that everybody understands that while we have recruited overseas doctors, 99.9 per cent of them are good citizens who are working very hard,'' he said.

"I do not want to see in hospitals, overseas recruited doctors treated badly in some way.'' ...

The acting-director at Gold Coast Hospital, David Spain, would not comment on the identity of the registrar or the selection process by which registrars are selected.
More Gold Coast warrants have been issued, but strangely the government(s) insists there is no reason to elevate the nation's security levels. I'm thinking this guy is not much of a big fish, and his fellow doctors in the UK have already shown themselves to be bumblingly incompetent terrorists.

So, what now? A bit of water-boarding, then off to Gitmo via Uzbequistan? Maybe the Queensland police can practice using their new stun guns first?

UPDATE 2: Another Gold Coast doctor has now been arrested. I hasten to add that these men have not been charged, and should be presumed innocent until found guilty, but even the hospital's Union rep seems to be pre-judging them:
Union Secretary Gay Hawkesworth says many are still coming to terms with the fact they worked alongside the 27-year-old doctor.

"I think our members at the Gold Coast Hospital would be stunned, particularly as it's a doctor, someone where the preservation of life is what they are all about," she said.

"That anybody in that position could be involved in terrorism ... is shocking."
And so it goes, this stupid War Of Terror.

UPDATE 3: Latest:
Greens Senator Bob Brown says the arrest proves highly-skilled immigrants should not get special treatment.

Mr Brown says all immigrants should be screened just as thoroughly as asylum seekers.

"Maybe there's a wake-up here to the Government, which has been very keen to bring in people who have more than a quarter of a million dollars," he said.

"That will buy you a way straight into Australia, if you've got that in your back pocket, or with high skills, but they need to be no less vetted than the poorest person."
Howard says "it's too early to say what it says." In other words, he is waiting to hear whether the arrested doctor is going to be charged before he decides how to spin this story. Rudd is also lying low. Behold our great leaders!