Public Works Committee: Women's and Children's Hospital Upgrade Sustainment Program

Mr PEDERICK (Hammond) (11:52): I rise to support the 12th report of the Public Works Committee, entitled Women's and Children's Hospital Upgrade Sustainment Program, and commend all the previous speakers for their contributions to this debate. I note that this relates to over $50 million worth of funding to keep the hospital in good order through to 2024, with the proposed relocation and co-location of the Women's and Children's Hospital with the new Royal Adelaide Hospital.

Some of this money is going to paediatric emergency. I want to reflect on the place where you do not want to be: any form of emergency department in a hospital. I had to attend there in August 2017. My youngest son, Angus, who was 13 at the time, had been involved in a scratch hockey game at school and, sadly, received the end of a hockey stick to the mouth. I have just been reviewing the photo I took as he was going into surgery and it is a bit ugly. I will just give a brief description, as I do not want to put people off their lunch.

It was quite a horrific injury. He really smashed up his upper lip and lower lip and essentially knocked out three teeth, which we did try to save as they were picked up off the oval and retrieved. The doctors and staff made a valiant effort, I must say, in saving those teeth, but in the end it turned out they did not take and the decision was made that whatever was left of those three front teeth was to be taken out. He also had a hole through his face, under his mouth, and it was very traumatic.

The Hon. D.C. van Holst Pellekaan: Should've seen the other guy.

Mr PEDERICK: Yes, absolutely. Sadly, the other student who was involved in this accident was traumatised as well, and he certainly has my sympathies. It was a very tough time for him. It was just one of those things that happen, and in the end you end up in one of these emergency departments. This happened at the end of school as he was being picked up. My wife, Sally, was picking me up. People were retrieving bits of teeth off the oval. The school counsellor rushed out, asking, 'What's going on?'

Incidentally, I was going to my own dentist at the time when I received a phone call from my older son, which was not very helpful. He said, 'Angus has been hurt,' and I thought, 'Well, that hasn't told me much.' I got hold of Sally and she said, 'We're going to the Women's and Children's,' and I immediately thought, 'If it needs that kind of attention, what's happened here?' Anyway, I said, 'Get Angus to speak to me,' and all I got was a grunt, and I thought, 'That's not pretty.' Anyway, long story short, I—

The Hon. D.C. van Holst Pellekaan: Are you sure?

Mr PEDERICK: I think it is an interesting story. I took advice from Sally and stayed away from the scene. I went in to see him at around 9 o'clock before he went into surgery. Thankfully, the painkillers had taken effect, but it was a nasty sight. I want to reflect on the care and attention he received when he went in there. He had close on 4½ hours of surgery that night and was out at around 2.30 in the morning.

They had to get a plastic surgeon in and they had another paediatric surgeon there. The work they did is commendable, as were the nursing staff and reception staff. They nearly did the fix in one. I remember going in for check-ups and he was almost like a rock star—for all the wrong reasons—because it was evidently the worst mouth they had seen in 2017. I saw the care and attention he received, and it also opened my eyes to the care and attention the other children were getting in the Women's and Children's Hospital at the time.

There were children with long-term illnesses, such as cancer and other illnesses, and I saw the care and attention bestowed on them. The place is child-friendly, and they also have education programs. I just want to commend the vital work these people do at the Women's and Children's Hospital. I want to note the over $50 million of sustainment money going in through the Public Works Committee. I thank the staff at all levels in the Women's and Children's Hospital for their attention not just to my child when he needed it but to the hundreds and thousands of patients who attend the hospital every year. I commend the motion.