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Tim Short

Tim Short, 31, car accident survivor

Referred to RNSH Trauma Centre

Tim Short, 31, of Dubbo NSW, was involved in a severe motor vehicle accident in late November 2010. Suffering multiple and life-threatening injuries, Tim was first air-lifted to Westmead Hospital, and then later referred to Royal North Shore Hospital (RNSH) – one-of-six NSW trauma centres, and the only trauma centre capable of providing care for major spinal injuries. The specialist care provided by the RNSH staff saved his life, and restored the young Agriculture Equipment Salesman with full use of his arms and legs – something which he thought was lost forever.

What has been your recent experience with RNSH?

I was in a severe motor vehicle accident near Tottenham, Central West NSW, in late 2010. I suffered multiple injuries and was in a critical condition, when I was air-lifted to Westmead Hospital, where I waited for approximately 12 hours to be treated. Unfortunately there was no one there at the time who could operate on me, so I was transferred via ambulance to Royal North Shore Hospital (RNSH).

Upon arrival at RNSH, I immediately underwent emergency surgery for severe spinal injuries and then orthopaedic surgery for a leg injury. I was then admitted to the ICU where I remained for eight days before being transferred to the trauma ward for the remainder of my three week stay at RNSH. I was then discharged and relocated to the Ryde Rehabilitation Centre for six weeks of ongoing care and rehabilitation.

How did you find the treatment and care at RNSH?

The care and service that my family and I experienced at RNSH was absolutely excellent. I cannot sufficiently praise the doctors and support staff who looked after me at RNSH. If it wasn’t for them and what they did for me, I wouldn’t be able to use my arms or legs today.

We live in Dubbo, in central western NSW, so I was in a hospital that is a very long way from home. My family made their own accommodation arrangements nearby. It would be fantastic however, if there was a hospital facility that provided accommodation to out-of-town families, especially in times of suffering. I needed to have my loved ones around me at all times because I was in shock and really struggling to come to terms with what had happened to me. The support and love that my family gave me was integral to my recovery.

What do you think of the redevelopment plans for RNSH?

It is fantastic that an upgrade of RNSH is going ahead, but it appears that the State Government plans for the redevelopment are an enormous backwards step for the hospital itself and its provision of healthcare. Investing $1 billion into RNSH is only worthwhile if the money is spent wisely – spending needs to be efficient and invested where it is most needed.

The only people who would be very familiar with this information are the doctors and staff who work at the hospital, and it appears that they have been insufficiently consultant in the planning stages of the redevelopment. To ignore their recommendations is ridiculous, and will compromise the future of healthcare to locals and people state-wide, like me, who at times, are reliant on the services of RNSH. The next stage of the plans require urgent reconsideration before construction commences.