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Anger over treatment of swine flu patient

A man diagnosed with swine flu after he died had waited up to three hours for an intensive care hospital bed the day of his death because none were available in Victoria, his parents say.

南宁桑拿

Victorian health authorities say the man, 35-year-old Anthony Splatt of the western district town of Colac, tested positive to the influenza A(H1N1) virus but will not say whether it caused his death.

Anthony Splatt went to Colac Hospital with flu-like symptoms on Friday and was transferred to Maroondah Hospital in Melbourne’s outer east, where he died on Saturday.

Test results released on Tuesday show he had tested positive for swine flu after swabs were taken following his death.

His parents, Brian and Judith Splatt, say their critically ill son waited at the Colac Hospital for three hours for an intensive care bed, which was eventually found at Maroondah Hospital.

“His poor GP was pacing the floor in Colac because he was getting sicker and sicker,” Ms Splatt, a nurse, told the Herald Sun newspaper.

Mr Splatt said: “There were no beds in Victoria. It seemed like forever (before a bed was found). We hope in a way his death makes more intensive care beds available.”

Victoria’s acting chief health officer Rosemary Lester said Anthony Splatt had a range of underlying medical conditions.

She would not confirm whether his death was a direct result of swine flu or one of the other medical conditions.

“I’m obviously not the clinician – that’s for the clinicians to decide what he’s died from,” Dr Lester said.

“My information is that it is respiratory failure but other than that I can’t make any comment.”

Dr Lester said the man received treatment consistent with the symptoms of his severe illness.

“He wouldn’t have been treated any differently if we’d known that he had swine flu from the outset.

“He arrived with an influenza-like illness and then, I believe, he rapidly deteriorated. “His respiratory function deteriorated and he went into shock quite quickly.”

The Splatts said Anthony seemed to be suffering from a common cold before he collapsed at home two days before he died.

By Friday, they were told he had only a 20 per cent chance of surviving as his respiratory system began to fail.

The death comes amid fears that indigenous Australians in remote communities may be particularly vulnerable to the disease.

A 26-year-old man from Kiwirrkurra in Western Australia last week became the first person with swine flu to die in Australia.

Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon said people in remote indigenous communities may be hit harder by swine flu than those elsewhere. She said federal and state governments were taking steps to ensure they received adequate supplies of Tamiflu, the antiviral drug used to treat the illness.

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