NOT HAPPY: Jarrod Kennewell, 27, has spend a weekend in excruciating pain waiting for surgery after he almost lost his thumb on Friday. Photo: Warren Lynam
NOT HAPPY: Jarrod Kennewell, 27, has spend a weekend in excruciating pain waiting for surgery after he almost lost his thumb on Friday. Photo: Warren Lynam

Man with ‘hanging’ thumb's long wait for surgery

WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGE

A CARPENTER who almost lost his thumb is calling for improvements to Sunshine Coast University Hospital after he spent the weekend in "horrendous" pain waiting for surgery.

Landsborough man Jarrod Kennewell, 27, was using an angle grinder while working at a Peachester property on Friday when his thumb was almost cut off.

"I was grinding some material and a wasp flew into my face," he said.

"I took my eye off the grinder for a split second and it grabbed into the material and travelled up to my left hand.

"After that initial shock … I kind of just ran around screaming 'help, help'.

"My teeth just started chattering, my legs were shaking. It was just horrendous."

Jarrod Kennewell almost lost his thumb when a wasp flew into his face while he was using an angle grinder. Photo: Contributed
Jarrod Kennewell almost lost his thumb when a wasp flew into his face while he was using an angle grinder. Photo: Contributed

He screamed for help until a nearby teenager came to his assistance and called triple-0.

Mr Kennewell was rushed to Sunshine Coast University Hospital and was told he would need surgery to "reattach" his thumb. But this morning, he was still waiting.

Since Friday Mr Kennewell has been fasting from about 2am to 7pm in the hope that he goes in for surgery.

Fed up with the wait, his family last night enacted Ryan's Rule - a process which can be taken to get help when family members are concerned about a patient in hospital whose condition is getting worse or not improving.

"(The grinder) went through about two thirds of the bone and it cut through the top tendon of my thumb," Mr Kennewell said.

"They're going to have to operate to repair the tendon and hopefully the nerves will heal over time."

Mr Kennewell is hoping to get back to work as soon as possible, but fears his injury will have long-term effects on his abilities.

"I just can't afford to take time off," he said.

Mr Kennewell said while he had received exceptional care from the hospital's nursing staff, he was disappointed at the wait time and hoped it could be improved.

"I broke down crying to the nurses," he said.

"They do a wonderful job here. I wouldn't have made it through, mentally, without them.

"But it's just the facilities or the resources that they have available. They haven't been able to get me in."

Mr Kennewell said he understood some matters were more urgent than others, but hoped improvements would be made so others in similar situations could get home to their families and back to work as soon as they could.

"I've been very patient about it and I haven't gotten angry at anyone. But it's not good enough," he said.

"The thumb's pretty much hanging, you would think that would be an emergency."

Acting clinical director of Surgical Services at Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service, Dr Nicolas Copertino, apologised for the delay and said there had been an increasing number of emergency surgeries and orthopaedic trauma. 

"There were 26 urgent life and/or limb-saving surgeries required over the weekend," Dr Copertino said. 

"Mr Kennewell's medical record shows this was explained to him and his family on a number of occasions throughout the weekend.

"Mr Kennewell can be reassured this delay will not impact his recovery from this injury."

Dr Copertino said Mr Kennewell had been provided regular pain relief, was closely monitored over the weekend and remained in a stable condition.

"We remain committed to treating our patients in a timely manner based upon their clinical urgency and Mr Kennewell is set to receive his surgery this afternoon as scheduled," he said.

"Mr Kennewell has been provided with meals when appropriate and high protein drinks throughout this period to ensure he has appropriate nutritional intake.

"I can also confirm a family friend raised a Ryan's Rule in relation to this matter stating concerns with a lack of communication about the delay. The matter was discussed with the patient and family friend again today."


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