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Friday, June 03, 2005

Hospital rejects Kylie criticism

By Danny Rose
June 03, 2005
CABRINI Hospital has rejected criticism over its accommodation of pop princess Kylie Minogue, and says tight security was needed given the "underhand tactics" of the international media.

The private hospital in Melbourne, where Minogue had surgery to remove a breast tumour last month, said no patients were moved from their rooms to accommodate the Australian-born star.

Calling the claims a "disappointing attack on the integrity of our hospital and staff", Cabrini chief executive Roger Greenman also said today that Minogue's admission was not the cause of a diversion of emergency-case ambulances from the hospital.

It comes after families of Cabrini patients complained publicly this week of being turned away from loved ones by Minogue's security, and of areas of the hospital being sealed off with black plastic.

Concerns also were raised by an unnamed doctor, and some staff, over Minogue's admission, saying its had unduly affected the hospital's day-to-day operations.

Mr Greenman said that security had been tightened for the star's treatment, but he said it was necessary and he rejected claims it had hindered hospital staff.

"Extra security measures were put in place to protect our patients and staff," he said.

He said the measures were necessary to protect Minogue " ... from the intrusive attention of international media representatives, many of whom used underhand tactics to attempt to get access to the hospital during Ms Minogue's stay".

Mr Greenman would not be drawn on the tactics but it is understood, in at least one case, a reporter called the hospital posing as a diagnostic expert seeking a routine transfer of Minogue's files.

Staff also were offered cash to provide photographs of Minogue in her room, it is understood.

"We are happy that out staff and patients were fully protected at all times, and we do not believe that they were hindered of inconvenienced by the extra security," Mr Greenman said.

He also confirmed today that Minogue's stay had used a number of rooms in the hospital's Coronary Care Unit which, he said, had "spare capacity".

"The only patients who were moved at this time were either booked to be discharged or transferred to another ward in the normal manner because of their improving condition," Mr Greenman said.

He said Minogue's visit had also coincided with his hospital's busiest period for emergency cases so far this year – a point also confirmed by the ambulance service.

"Ambulance bypass was necessary to ensure that the ED (emergency department) could appropriately treat patients who had already presented," Mr Greenman said.

"If the rooms occupied by Ms Minogue had been available, they would not have alleviated the pressure on our ED staff."

Mr Greenman also rejected media claims that Minogue's room had been painted pink, reportedly to boost her recovery, and that staff treating her were asked to sign confidentiality agreements.

© The Australian

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