The atmosphere was more street party than surgery when 26 patients from the Lower Gulf were flown or drove into Mount Isa on Sunday afternoon for a two-day surgery blitz at Mount Isa Hospital.
In the surgical ward waiting room, everyone knows everyone, and grandchildren tumble around as the older patients swap stories and yarn while they wait for their operations.
The mainly Indigenous patients from Normanton and Karumba, will fly back home with improved sight and a new lease on life.
NWHH Medical Workforce manager Sue Torenbeek and her team dealt with the logistics of the surgery blitz.
“The assistance of all staff coming together made this an enjoyable experience and journey for all involved as the patient was at the centre of our minds.” Ms Torenbeek said.
“Our patients are really happy, and the outcomes have been great in terms of not only getting their cataracts removed, but other ailments have been seen to as well, while they’re here at Mount Isa Hospital.”
For Henry and Gladys Callope, it was an opportunity to get teeth fixed and a medical scan as well as a cataract operation for Henry. Henry’s only complaint was feeling hungry after his operation today.
Tessie Rapson, 65, drove to Mount Isa with her daughter and grandchildren for Tessie’s cataract operation. Tessie will go back to Normanton tomorrow with sight restored in her left eye as well as a new set of dentures. She gets fitted with the dentures tomorrow morning.
Well known Normanton Hospital nurse, Corrine Long is experiencing life as a patient as she waits for her operation to remove a pteriygium from her eye. She is accompanied by her niece Leanne O’Brien and her two children, Memphis (4), and Dakoda (2).
The surgery blitz was made possible with Commonwealth funding to not for profit organisation CheckUP and support from Queensland Aboriginal and Island Health Council (QAIHC) and Gidgee Healing.