Baby Boomers advised to be less stoic about their health
Leading emergency Doctor warns seniors to seek treatment when unsure
Doctor Allison Kay, Director at Brisbane Northside Emergency, is urging baby boomers and pensioners to not discard any health warnings they may have because it can make all the difference to their quality of life and longevity.
“Many people – not just the elderly – don’t understand their own bodies and how serious their symptoms can be,” claims Allison. “The older generation are real tough cookies. They know how to hold out in pain and often put it down to old age.
“In most situations, it’s not just old age – it can be fixed. And they are doing more damage by being stoic about their situation.”
For Allison, chest pains are a prime concern. “If you’ve had a chest pain for more than an hour call 000 and get the ambulance to bring you here, to BNE. Some ambulance drivers are unaware of us, what we offer, and what we are capable of treating. We have an acute cardiac service and can admit you to Holy Spirit Hospital if needs be.
“If you don’t treat chest pains you can develop scar tissue and heart failure,” she warns.
Allison knows too well how heart attacks can suddenly strike people down. Her father was only 53 when he suffered a heart attack. Fortunately, the family had the good sense to take him to a private A&E clinic where he was quickly diagnosed and went on to have a bypass that saved his life.
“My father was in bad shape – he was overweight and had Type II diabetes. However even seemingly healthy men and women in their 40s and 50s can suffer heart attacks. My advice to them is don’t stuff about with your one life.”
Another critical area that people should be wary of, according to Allison, is their face. “With any numbness, thickening of the tongue, or drooling, we urge people to act fast and get in here pronto. Early intervention with strokes and bells palsy is everything.”
Shingles, which affects one in five people at some point in their life, is also more common in people over 50. “If we catch shingles in time patients can take anti-viral drugs to prevent them from getting scarring in the nerve – which will lessen the long-term pain that can be associated with shingles,” Allison said.
Stomach pains are another common ailment. The pain could be an appendix about to burst, a twisted bowel, or an ovarian cyst. It’s when they are ignored that complications set in and elderly often take longer to recover from operations because their circulation isn’t as good as it was when they were young.
“We have also seen patients with just a sore toe or leg, who have deteriorated with a serious infection and subsequently ended up in intensive care on life support. Chances are they would have been knocking on the pearly gates if they hadn’t come in.”
She stressed that gastro and diabetes were also conditions that the elderly shouldn’t muck about with. “If they are weak or dehydrated, get in here fast is our recommendation.
Allison also said that naturally with elderly people one of the biggest things they have to watch out for is the flu and complications that arise from that: bronchitis, pleurisy, pneumonia. “It’s really important that older people don’t try and soldier on. They need professional care and rest.
“With mounting pressures on medical services, it’s important for us that baby boomers know BNE is here for them and what sets us apart as an A&E service,” added Allison. “We are a private, fee-for-service emergency clinic and with that comes many valuable benefits. Everyone who comes through our door is a priority. Patients will be seen generally within 10 minutes of arrival. They will be seen by a Doctor, who is usually a specialist in Emergency Medicine, with 10+ years of experience. In public systems there tends to be a wait and delay factor and the first person you see in A&E tends to be the most junior. Here, we are senior medicos who get things done. We’ll ring up a surgeon and make an appointment that day if necessary for an operation. We take control and fix the situation, so our patient is no longer in pain and their long-term health is maximised.”
Brisbane Northside Emergency (BNE) is a 24-hour/7 day a week, fee-for service emergency clinic based at 627 Rode Road, adjacent to the Holy Spirit Northside Hospital.
Patients pay a maximum of $350 to be seen within minutes by doctors and nurses who have over 10 years experience in emergency care, making them an attractive option for any person or ambulance on Brisbane’s northside and beyond.
BNE has a full suite of facilities, including radiology, and can quickly engage specialists for emergency surgery. Over 90% of BNE’s clients are repeat patients – testament to the quality of service, staffing and care provided.