Heartbreaking photos of teenage cancer patient show extent of Victoria’s hospital crisis

The heartbroken mother of a teenage cancer patient has shown the extent of Victoria’s hospital crisis through a series of alarming photos.

ABC journalist Louise Milligan shared the images, featuring a close friend’s son, to Twitter on Wednesday.

“Current, alarming state of Vic hospitals. Call just now from my sobbing friend,” she wrote. “Her teen son just finished 6 months of chemo for cancer. He’s waited 27 HOURS in draughty hallway of @easternhealthau Box Hill hospital.

“Nurse just fell on floor in tears.”

Milligan said her friend told her the boy had been offered no food by the hospital during the lengthy waiting period.

“My friend says the nurse and doctor have been ‘beautiful’ but they have nowhere to put her boy,” she said.

“It’s been an incredibly stressful and painful time since his diagnosis but this she just can’t believe.”

Milligan added that her friend wanted their story public to “expose exactly what patients and staff are enduring”.

The 17-year-old has been undergoing cancer treatment.
Camera IconThe teenager has been undergoing cancer treatment. Credit: Supplied

Other patients’ stories shared on Thursday showed the extent of Victoria’s worsening healthcare crisis as services continue to buckle.

One woman, who didn’t want to use her real name, said her 83-year-old mother was left waiting for 17 hours after arriving at the hospital via ambulance.

The daughter credited staff with “doing their best” but said it didn’t negate the lack of facilities available at the hospital.

“It is heated and the staff are doing their best. It’s makeshift,” she said.

“I had to advocate for her to be scanned.”

Eastern Health has been contacted for comment.

Premier Daniel Andrews responded to the reports on Thursday morning, telling reporters “this winter has been a winter like no other” for the healthcare system.

“Winters are never easy in our health system, but when you’ve got Covid as well as things like RSV and flu (it becomes difficult to manage),” he said.

“(Staff) are not immune from getting sick themselves. If you’ve got, on any given day, thousands of staff that can’t come to work and you’ve got very high demand for care, those two things mean you’ve got real stress and pressure in the system.

“Every single clinician, every single member of the team is working as hard as they can and they do that work knowing the have the full support of our government.”

The state’s hospitals have been under increasing pressure since Covid cases began rising towards the end of 2021.

Health services have also had to deal with resurgent flu numbers along with furloughed and sick workers.

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