A dedication to Alex Braes

Janelle Barker

A dedication to Alex Braes
Photo by Rhodi Lopez on Unsplash

The early hours of a Wednesday morning in a small country town.

An 18-year-old boy struggles to sleep

He had pain so bad

all he could do was weep

the knee was so painful

he had to go to the hospital

his father took him there

once there it seemed

nobody was to care

the failure in regional hospitals

is undeniable in this story

this ending has

no glory

the odds were against Alex

from the start

with a lack of medical resources

and staff

before his death

management refused to listen

to critical concerns about safety

with no concern of patients

and no liability

20/09/2017, 3.18 am

Alex arrived in Emergency

In pain, hoping for attention

Was neglected and sent home

Left to lay in bed

And grown

No-one did vitals, no-one checked anything

He was told to come back in the morning

They played the downswing

Wednesday 8 am

Back he came, for an ultrasound

Couldn’t get results

No-one could see him

Claiming they were busy

He sat there feeling grim

Vital signs not checked again

Told to go home, come back later

By this time, Alex’s pain

Was getting greater

Wednesday 6 pm

Where they going to be seen

They didn’t know when

Alarm bells should have been ringing

This boy was deteriorating

All checkpoints were missing

Failure to do vital signs were indefensible

The results came and

showed possible torn ligament

sent home again

this hospital is impotent

come back in two weeks

it may be too late

for Alex’s feet

Thursday 10 am

In excruciating pain, he could not walk,

The pain was so bad, he could barely talk

His father called an ambulance

But none was available

Who could he find

That was attainable

Put into the family car

For another round trip

This story is hard to write

It sounds like a Hollywood script

Alex couldn’t get out of the car

It took 25 minutes to get him

A wheelchair

How much can this hospital

Actually, not care

Thursday 11.39 am

Arrived in reception and was told to wait

He complained and told them

He was going to faint

Asking for a pillow

That they did not get

Alex was clammy

Beginning to sweat

Thursday 12.17 pm

Thirty-three hours after he first

Walked in the doors

Staff finally did vitals

A little too late

His family had lost

Their faith

Thursday 12.28 pm

Vitals got severely worse

Rapid response team

Where called

By this time, the family

Was appalled

Cold, clammy, significantly blue, mottled

And not responding

Meant he had been unwell for hours

And his leg left rotting

Barley conscious, Alex’s pain

Finally discovered,

Infected Toenail, no-one picked up on

This poor young boy suffered

Alex now in toxic shock for a deadly skin eating disease

Necrotising fasciitis

Lies on a bed lifeless

Kidney failing with sepsis

Not having the right resources

This whole trauma is senseless

Thursday 1.25 pm


Thursday 1.47 pm

Ready to fly Alex to another hospital

Royal Adelaide had no beds, by this time

The family were banging their heads

Traumatised of what was happening

To their beautiful boy

It did destroy

Thursday 2.05 pm

The royal flying doctors

Could not fly Alex

Now they were all sick

To the stomach

The Pilot had reached his

Maximum hours


By the Civil Aviation’s

Thursday 2.32 pm

Sydney Royal Prince Alfred Hospital

Found a bed and an air ambulance came to collect him

Chances for Alex, are very slim

A five-hour round trip

I told you

This is like a script

His parents shell shocked, just sat there

grasping the reality

of what they were facing

the whole time

their heart racing

Thursday 5.30 pm

Suddenly deteriorating sharply

Alex needed life support before

the plane trip

This was critical

There could be no slip

Alex fighting for his life

He was unsure if

He was going to survive

Thursday 9.30 pm

The plane took off, with his mum on board

Declined so quickly

They prayed to the Lord

How horrifying for his mum

The feeling of hopelessness

She couldn’t succumb

Friday 12.50 am

14 hours after the father

Called the ambulance

They finally arrived at the hospital

The journey to get there

Was despicable

It was way too late

He had a cardiac arrest

The doctors felt hard-pressed

Friday 2 am

18-year-old Alex Braes was

Pronounced dead

Had he had help

From the first time

The disease wouldn’t of spread.

A preventable death

That no one is accountable for

Makes me sick to stomach

Forever more

I will never forget writing this

As I think of the family

Giving their final kiss.

sad poetry
Janelle barker
Janelle barker
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