Bellbrae Family Credits Rapid MRI Diagnosis with Son’s Optimal Recovery
Bellbrae teenager Riley Taylor suffered agonising neck pain after he was flung over the handlebars of his mountain bike hurdling a four-metre embankment in Anglesea last month.
Striking the ground headfirst at a speed of 30 kilometres an hour, Riley’s helmet cracked under the pressure, leaving the fourteen-year-old in a dangerous condition.
When Riley’s mother, Kirby, received the urgent call from his riding mates about 2:30pm on Friday September 28, she phoned for an ambulance and requested that he be taken to the nearest hospital – Epworth Geelong.
“The emergency team immediately swung into action and quickly stabilised Riley,” she said.
“Within an hour of his arrival at the Epworth, MRI confirmed fractures to the neck and upper back, then he was transferred to the Royal Children’s Hospital where doctors had already received the imaging report and briefed a spinal surgeon.
“Riley is making a remarkable recovery thanks to his rapid diagnosis and clinical care. He was discharged from hospital after 10 days and will remain in a halo brace for another eight to 10 weeks while his spine heals, but he is coping very well.”
Having seen the importance of equitable access to lifesaving magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) firsthand, Kirby said cost should never determine whether or not a seriously ill patient receives optimal treatment.
Riley’s family is throwing its support behind Epworth Geelong’s application to the Federal Health Minister for a full MRI licence to ensure fair access to essential diagnostic services, including bulk billing for all Medicare rebatable MRI scans.
Epworth Geelong’s Director of Emergency Medicine, Dr Matthew Ryan, said Greater Geelong was “significantly underserviced” by MRI services in comparison with other Victorian regions including Bendigo, Ballarat and Warrnambool.
“As an emergency physician, I see patients daily where a licensed MRI would have made a major difference to their clinical care and experience,” Dr Ryan said.
“When we treated Riley, his family was placed in the difficult situation of choosing between an expensive MRI scan and a cheaper scan that would have exposed him to a significant radiation dose. I find these cases difficult, both as a doctor and as a father.”