An elderly man proved the importance of persistence on this day in 1987, after his hassling of various medical authorities resulted in his wife receiving the urgent surgery she needed free of charge.
The man was in his late 70s, and had undergone several open-heart surgeries himself. His wife was told her operation could not be performed with no fee as she was not classified Medicare and it was not an emergency operation, despite the fact the couple could not afford the hospital's accommodation fees with the wife as a private patient. So the man took matters into his own hands, taking a straw poll in Civic Centre "to find out which were the bastards" preventing his wife from her operation, then gatecrashing an AMA meeting to give the doctors a piece of his mind, before going on to make a deal with the operating surgeon and his anaesthetist, and fighting the ACT Health Authority to change his wife's hospital status. And his efforts were worth it - he won.
His win came from striking a deal with the surgeon. Then deputy general manager of the ACT Health Authority, Mr Allan Hicks said the authority waived the hospital's accommodation fee due to "the unprecedented agreement between the treating surgeon and the patient's husband to 'declassify' her." The man stopped 140 people in Civic to see whether they supported his view or the doctors', only to find that "60 per cent supported the doctors' stand", which he relayed to the doctors at the AMA meeting he gatecrashed. Despite the odds, he continued to fight for his wife's surgery, and the result of his battle showed his hard work paid off.
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