Father, son wait years for surgery

A Launceston father and son have had health struggles and felt forgotten while waiting for medical action.

Stuart Lade was brutally assaulted in late 2013, deforming his nasal passage. 

The 18-year-old is a highly talented athlete who has basically given up sport, predominantly due to breathing difficulties. 

He saw his GP in November 2013, who advised Stuart needed an operation to reset his nose. He was recommended the Royal Hobart Hospital.

It was confirmed he was on the RHH outpatient waiting list in late December that year. 

SUFFERING: South Launceston's John Lade and his 18-year-old son Stuart have waited more than three years to receive surgery. Mr Lade said he felt they had been forgotten. Picture: Phillip Biggs

SUFFERING: South Launceston's John Lade and his 18-year-old son Stuart have waited more than three years to receive surgery. Mr Lade said he felt they had been forgotten. Picture: Phillip Biggs

Stuart’s father, John Lade, visited the same doctor three weeks later because of infected sinuses. The GP recommended the RHH to have his sinuses drained and he was also referred to the RHH.

But progress stalled and both men are yet to undergo their surgeries.

Mr Lade wakes up throughout the night coughing and struggling to breathe due to constant congestion in his ears and nasal passage. 

The South Launceston resident is a single father to two daughters as well as Stuart.

He was made redundant from his previous job as a teacher’s aid, and now works as a maintenance officer.

“There aren’t many jobs around, life’s not easy,” Mr Lade said. 

He said multiple medical appointments and purchasing over the counter medication have created persistent financial burden. 

Mr Lade said he felt he and his son had been forgotten. 

“I just want to be able to sleep at night,” he said. 

Mr Lade has lobbied local MPs for help over the years.

Correspondence dated early 2014 shows Mr Lade approached Bass Liberal MHA Peter Gutwein, who advocated the Lades’ case to former Labor Health Minister Michelle O’Byrne.

Ms O’Byrne informed Mr Gutwein that there was a shortage of ear nose and throat specialists at the Launceston General Hospital. Mr Lade visited Health Minister Michael Ferguson’s office earlier this year in an attempt to stimulate action. Their cases were transferred to the LGH, with Stuart and Mr Lade having consultations booked in this month. 

A state government spokesman said the government had been helping the Lades “get the care they need as close to home and as soon as possible”.

The spokesman said the government had boosted elective surgery provision at the LGH, with two new theatres and a short-stay unit.

He said more than 500 people received ENT surgery at the LGH last financial year, almost double the number in 2013-14. 

“This has reduced ENT surgery waiting lists by more than 80 per cent,” he said.

He said regular ENT outpatient clinics now take place at the LGH.