Hospital ordeal leaves Puletua angry

FORMER Penrith Panthers star and current Panthers cultural co-ordinator Frank Puletua says the public response has been "all positive" since speaking out in The Sun-Herald last weekend about his two-year-old son Noah's emergency room ordeal.

Three weeks ago, Noah received a deep gash in his lip following a trike accident and Puletua took him to The Children's Hospital at Westmead to have the wound treated.

Initially, there were 27 patients ahead of Noah and, after a four-hour wait, Puletua was told it was unlikely Noah would be seen until the following morning.

As a result, Puletua took Noah home and the following day the Parramatta resident and his son went to a local GP where plastic strips were applied to the wound.

They came off the next day and Puletua returned to the Westmead emergency room with Noah that evening.

While 30 patients were on the waiting list, Noah was placed on an "injuries list" of just three.

He still hadn't been seen by 10.30pm, at which time Puletua was told by a staff member that the injuries list had ceased at 9.30pm and Noah was back on the general waiting list.

On day three Puletua took Noah to former Panthers team doctor Norm Southern, who informed the pair that the skin had come together too much and it was too late for stitches.

"I think it's totally, absolutely unacceptable for a hospital to put not only a parent, but also a child, through that," Puletua told the Star.

"The fact I was told we were behind three and we would be seen gave me a little bit of hope that we would get in there and the lack of communication really riled me up."

Puletua said the emergency room was so packed on both nights that it was hard to find available seats.

"Support to The Children's Hospital is something that should be put high on the agenda," Puletua said.

"Westmead services all of western Sydney for their children and to me it's just not good enough at the moment."

Since Puletua's story appeared first last Sunday, he's spoken to one ex-NRL player whose father waited 24 hours for care at Liverpool Hospital after he cut the top of his finger off.

"Speak to every second person and they'll tell you one story or another that's very similar," he said.

The story Hospital ordeal leaves Puletua angry first appeared on Penrith City Gazette.

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