3am in the Emergency Room of a rural hospital is not pretty

THE phone rang at 3am. Unfortunately it wasn't the nice folk from Lotto advising me of an unexpected win.

Fifteen action-packed minutes later, I fell through the door of the Emergency Room looking like someone who had dressed exclusively at The Dishevelled Gentleman.

Now, in spite of every pre-elected government in living memory promising to increase funding for rural health services, it seems our regional hospitals have basically become travel advisory centres for the seriously ill.

So, when the doctor announced that my father needed to be flown to the city for treatment, nobody was surprised.

When I found out how much it would cost to fly down to be with him, I nearly ended up in a hospital bed myself; if there had been any spare beds.

A nurse kindly handed me her coffee, "You've got a long drive ahead of you today".

I thanked her, then she whispered, "While you're down there, steal as many boxes of sterile gloves as you can." I grinned thinking she was joking. Nope.

Staggering from the waiting room, I passed a young bloke helping his heavily pregnant girlfriend through the door.

As she doubled over in pain he cried, "Please don't send us home again, I don't want to deliver the kid." I idly wondered if that's where all the sterile gloves were going.

Three weeks later dad returned home. And home was where my young mate delivered his baby after he and his girlfriend were turned away at the hospital. He didn't have sterile gloves either.

Apparently, for those of us who selfishly choose to live in rural regions, the best medical insurance is a plane ticket to the nearest capital city hospital, so keep filling out those Lotto forms folks.

And I thought the 3am phone call was a rude awakening.

Greg Bray blogs at http://www.gregbraywriter.wordpress.com. Find him on Facebook: Greg Bray - Writer.

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