IN LIMBO: Peter Slade has been left in the dark about his expensive drug to combat autoimmune conditions.
IN LIMBO: Peter Slade has been left in the dark about his expensive drug to combat autoimmune conditions. Patrick Woods

Referral mix-up leaves Coast granddad without treatment

A MIX-UP between hospitals has left a Coast grandfather in limbo, unsure of whether or not he will receive treatment for autoimmune conditions robbing him of his mobility.

Beerwah resident Peter Slade said he'd been referred from the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital about a month ago for treatment at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital.

He was due to receive regular injections of Infliximab serum through a drip, for treatment for a range of autoimmune conditions including Sarcoidosis.

But the 64-year-old former economist said he heard nothing from SCUH about when his treatment would begin.

When he inquired he was told a fax hadn't arrived yet, but RBWH specialists said they'd sent an email to SCUH.

Mr Slade said his incurable conditions would leave him wheelchair-bound, but there was a chance the serum would slow down their effects and prolong his years of mobility.

"I've got to the stage where I just don't care," Mr Slade said.

"I just don't know what to make of it (the silence)."

When asked by the Daily, Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service chief operating officer Karlyn Chettleburgh confirmed no formal referral had been received from RBWH.

"However, an email discussing the patient was sent from a RBWH clinician to a Sunshine Coast University Hospital rheumatologist," Ms Chettleburgh said.

"Unfortunately, an informal email is not an accepted avenue for the referral of patients.

"We do apologise for any distress this issue may have caused this patient and we will ensure an appointment and treatment is organised for him a soon as possible."

Mr Slade said he was unsure whether the drug, which he said was crafted using mice, would even work.

He said the drug had been developed as an anti-cancer drug initially, and if he was to use it, he would become the third person in the world with Sarcoidosis to be treated with Infliximab.

"It's very expensive," he said.

"In some ways I think maybe it's better if they left it for younger people or someone with a better chance of success."

Mr Slade said autoimmune conditions had been affecting him for some years and he'd been formally diagnosed in late-2013.

Infliximab helps to reduce swelling and is given as a drip infusion into the vein.

The infusion takes one to four hours and ranges from $330 to $347 per 100mg vial and is given at no cost to the patient.