A woman who died in Royal Hobart Hospital this week after suffering a two-hour stroke has been remembered as a loving mother and grandmother who cared deeply for her family and friends.
- Kathleen Schramm died while in the care of paramedics while waiting to be admitted to Royal Hobart Hospital’s emergency department
- Hers is the second death under similar circumstances in three months
- Mrs Schramm’s daughter says not much was done “until she died”, then “suddenly 10 people came and gave her CPR”
Lindisfarne woman Kathleen Schramm, 80, died after being taken to hospital on Tuesday with severe abdominal pain, where she was placed in the emergency department – an area of the hospital before admission.
Her daughter Rebecca Schramm was initially not allowed to see her mother due to her being molested, but was allowed in after 20 minutes.
She said it was a disturbing situation.
“We thought she was in the ambulance, she was going to the hospital, she was going to be taken care of and she wasn’t,” Ms Schramm said.
“Nothing was done until she died and then suddenly 10 people came and gave her CPR. It was just traumatic.
“She was really loved, she had eight children. She had a lot of friends. She was very active and just a really good person.
“This is not how she should have died.”
Ms Schramm said hospital staff were “clearly overworked” and she had no criticism of them.
In a statement earlier on Thursday, Health Minister Kathrine Morgan-Wicks said she could “confirm that a patient died in the acute medical unit, which is located within the Royal Hobart Hospital’s emergency department, on Tuesday 22 November”.
“As is the case when a patient dies in our care, we take this matter very seriously and offer our sincere condolences to the family and friends of this patient.
“Royal Hobart Hospital and Ambulance Tasmania will conduct a review to fully understand the circumstances surrounding the patient’s death.
“This is now a matter for the coroner and further comment would be inappropriate.”
Ambulance ramps occur when emergency departments are full and cannot admit new patients.
Data show decline in patients “seen on time”
Latest data from the Tasmanian Health Department for September shows 28 per cent of Royal Hobart Hospital’s A&E patients were seen on time, described as “within the maximum waiting time from their time of arrival”.
It was a significant drop from earlier in the year, when the figure was over 40 per cent.
The biggest drop was among Category 3 patients, who have “potentially life-threatening” medical conditions and are in severe discomfort or distress. Only 19 percent of these patients were seen on time.
RHH COVID Escalation has increased to Level 2with the department urging Tasmanians to avoid going to hospital unless necessary.
Premier Jeremy Rockliff said the government was constantly trying to address staff shortages across the health system, but accepted demand pressures were growing.
“We know there can be periods of significant demand and we also understand that people in the community are concerned about the increased demand. We are doing a lot of work to ease the pressure on ambulance ramps,” he said.
“Obviously we have to work with our federal government.
“We have too many people who should have an aged care bed in an aged care facility and too many people in the NDIS should also have the appropriate disability setting for them.”
The death comes three months after one woman in her 70s died after being stricken at Launceston General Hospital for nine hours.
Greens health spokeswoman Rosalie Woodruff told parliament the state did not publicly disclose deaths while they hit hospitals.
She said the latest death was a symptom of a health system under pressure.
“Premiere [Rockliff] … you have failed to take rampant risks seriously and your current COVID policies are increasing transmissions and making things worse,” Ms Woodruff said.
“Do you accept that the constant number of patients being affected and the longer they spend is putting the lives of so many Tasmanians at greater risk?”