Recovering heart attack patient Mick Draper is full of praise for Coast health services.
Recovering heart attack patient Mick Draper is full of praise for Coast health services. Patrick Woods

Coolum concreter saved by quick thinking staff

COOLUM concreter Mick Draper may be a beneficiary of the hi-tech equipment that drives the best-practice coronary care on the Sunshine Coast, but what has impressed him most are the people.

Mick returned home from a Gladstone trip suffering from chest pains he put down to indigestion.

He was doing work on a family home on an island in Gladstone Harbour and had started eating dinner when he felt a pain in the centre of his chest.

"I hiccuped, then vomited and it seemed to settle,'' he said. "I woke up feeling similar pain, thought it was indigestion and packed up and went home."

A trip to local seven-day medical centre quickly shifted his focus from what he had eaten to what exertion he had done immediately before the first onset of pain.

His doctor called an ambulance and he was taken to Nambour Hospital where a protein blood test quickly established he had suffered a "heart attack".

"The medical staff were caring, cheerful and in good humour which is critical to how you feel as a patient,'' Mick said.

"I consistently found their attitude uplifting in what was a difficult time.

"It's like the UN in there. The hospital's a good example of multiculturalism. I identified Welsh, Scots, English, Irish and people from Africa. The mix is the cream of society.''

Ahead of the opening of the $1.8 billion Sunshine Coast University Hospital, coronary care has been bolstered so people like Mick don't face a two to three day period of stabilisation before transfer to Brisbane to have stents inserted into arteries.

Dr Piotr Swierkowski, Executive Director of Medical Services, said Sunshine Coast Health District was already one of the state's biggest centres for cardiac care catering for 23% of need generated in the Brisbane North health district.

The new hospital bristles with the latest technology and is rapidly building even greater capacity in its people with new hirings drawn from among the world's best.

"The staff are all terrific,'' Mick said.

"I should have been scared but their professionalism comforted me. The specialist said he had been at this a long time and most who presented with what I had were often dead.''

Instead Mick is now recovering after having stents implanted to overcome two arteries which had been 99% blocked.

"I'm doing the medication and the diet and will have an ecocardiogram in a month which will let mer know whether some of the heart muscle has died.''

In a letter of thanks to Nambour Hospital he wrote "We have something special here in Queensland and Australia in our public health system which we need to cherish and defend".

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