Tuesday, 9 August 2022
    Covid exposed system cracks
    Aged Care, Health Care

    Covid exposed system cracks

    At the peak of Queensland's COVID-19 crisis in late January, Bethania couple Caroline and David Ingerson had to make a heartbreaking choice, ABC News reports.

    Should they say a final goodbye to their dying father in a COVID ward and risk contracting the virus; or stay away from him, so they could remain by the bedside of their seriously ill daughter for her final days?

    They chose the latter.

    Eighty-nine-year-old Keith Briese, Toowoomba born and bred, and a former resident of aged care facility Jeta Gardens, died in Ward 2G of the Logan Hospital on January 29.

    At the same time, his daughter Caroline and son-in-law David were in Ward 2H, making palliative care arrangements for their 18-year-old daughter, Tara.

    She died at home less than three weeks later.

    "I don't think I've had a chance to grieve for my father yet, because I'm so consumed with my daughter," Ms Ingerson said through tears.

    "He was basically just down the hallway — so close. But I just couldn't. The only saving grace was that my sister could be with him."

    The Ingersons' world has felt very empty since the loss of their daughter and father.

    Their lives were so consumed by caring for Tara, that even a recent getaway — their first in years — caused guilt and grief.

    "It's been difficult. It's been very empty," Ms Ingerson said.

    "The hardest thing I've ever had to do is let Tara go. We've never done respite, because she was a pleasure to look after."

    Sympathy cards, photos of Tara and her brother Mark, 28, as well as Tara's recently acquired graduation medal adorn the top of a sideboard.

    A teardrop-shaped urn containing the teenager's ashes is decorated with her favourite things — purple butterflies.

    It sits pride of place among the fairyland of tiny ornaments and decorations that Tara collected and curated for years in a glass cabinet just inside the front door.

    While 2022 will forever be marred by personal tragedy, the Ingersons will also remember it as the year their faith in the aged care and health systems was shattered.

    Under the pressure of COVID, they watched both systems crumble before their eyes.


    COVID-19 exposed cracks in Queensland's aged cared and health systems leaving one family devastated (ABC News)


    Tara Ingerson's condition deteriorated at the same time Queensland was facing its COVID peak. (Supplied)