Photo of young boy with cancer shows dire state of Aussie hospital

·News Reporter
·3-min read

Devastating photos shared online show the grim reality Australian hospitals are facing with Victoria in particular continuing to experience mounding healthcare challenges.

In a tweet on Wednesday, ABC journalist Louise Milligan said the current state of hospitals in the state is "alarming" and revealed that sick patients are going without beds or proper care.

The Four Corners reporter shared photos of a 16-year-old boy — who's the son of her friend — who was forced to rest on a row of hallway chairs at Eastern Health's Box Hill Hospital in Melbourne.

The teen is a patient at the hospital having spent the last six months undergoing chemotherapy for cancer, but there aren't enough beds to accommodate him.

Melbourne hospital patient sleeping in hallway
16-year-old cancer patient forced to sleep in the hallways at a Melbourne hospital due to no available beds. Source: Twitter/Louise Milligan

"He’s waited 27 HOURS in draughty hallway of @easternhealthau Box Hill hospital," Milligan tweeted, admitting his mum was left "sobbing".

"My friend says the nurse & doctor have been 'beautiful' but they have nowhere to put her boy.

"He’s been offered no food (she went and bought some). She’s had two hours’ sleep. It’s been an incredibly stressful and painful time since his diagnosis but this she just can’t believe."

One photo shows the sick teen sitting on the floor in the hospital hallway charging his phone, as he doesn't have access to a room.

Others show the young boy sleeping on the chairs with a blanket draped over his body, while snacks and food — bought by his mum — sit unfinished on the floor.

Hospital patient sleeping on chairs in hallway at Melbourne hospital
The teen has undergone six months of chemotherapy but has no access to a room, bed or food. Source: Twitter/Louise Milligan

Ongoing healthcare crisis: 'Exhausted and overworked'

The reason for sharing, Milligan said, is to expose "exactly what patients and staff are enduring".

Milligan revealed a nurse "just fell on the floor in tears" after seeing the 16-year-old cancer patient sleeping in the hallway.

Tougher working conditions through the pandemic and beyond have caused a shortage of nurses and hospital staff across the state.

And those who remain are struggling to keep up with higher healthcare demands.

"Thousands" have left the industry because they're "exhausted and overworked", Opposition Leader Matthew Guy said on Sunday, Australian Associated Press reported.

"We need to get more people into our healthcare network," he added.

'Unacceptable' conditions 'need to be addressed'

Victoria's ambulance service has also been under immense pressure, with at least seven code reds declared this year.

Sickness and staff shortages have resulted in extensive delays in service with reports of some patients dying at home before an ambulance is able to arrive.

But it's happening in other states across the country too with many calling it "devastating".

"Wow, that is deeply troubling. Terrible," one person commented on Milligan's Twitter post.

"Absolutely awful," another said before detailing her own horrific experience.

"A doctor at a Vic hospital where I was admitted to recently broke down and cried as well because I wasn’t being cared for properly," she said.

"It was a terrific hospital, but they were overwhelmed and understaffed. It’s unacceptable and needs to be properly addressed."

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