Chapter Seven....Quality of Care

Once contact resumed after March 20th 1999 the Whiteside's private life was shattered, not by Tom Jowett's behaviour, but by the snide permutations, that went on behind their backs. What happened over the following two years was a lesson to them just how far human beings will sink to graft what is not theirs and the mindset of a Chief Justice, who not only sanctioned that graft but ruled to make sure that the lawyers, barristers and grouters were the legal beneficiaries. What lacked moral principle was the fabrication of the truth that was skilfully used to achieve the bulk of the estate for the lawyers. Here was this Chief Justice a pillar of Society, a pillar of his Church and a man who lacked the moral compassion of Christian conviction, to do his job without fear or favour. That man was the Chief Justice of Queensland The Hon Paul de Jersey. For the moment we will put his role in this injustice aside.

Tom Jowett was a cantankerous old bugger. He had the capacity to antagonise people and he had very few men friends in his final years. He could be quite rude when it suited him, yet he attracted women as a moth is drawn to a flame. There was Saraid a young practical caring girl to whom Tom absolutely adored. She in her turn went beyond the call of duty to help. She often took him out for a cup of coffee. Of all the girls who attended in the role of carers, Saraid alone carved a niche in Tom's heart. Overseeing all the girls was Carole Crozier, a senior nurse who had looked after Tom's wife when she was dying from complications exacerbated by the cancerous brain tumour . Tom did not like Carole and in fact did not trust her, but in her presence he treated her with respect. Then there were the domestics who were employed to drop in once or twice a week to do washing, clean floors and any job within reason that came within the ambit of their organisations charter of care. For the most part these girls seldom did any of the chores that they were employed to do. It would be too easy to hold them accountable for this neglect of duty. Young girls had a fascination for Tom and he loved their company. He would tell them to make him a cup of tea and then coax them to have one with him. One or two of the girls were quite diligent and managed to do both the cleaning and the socialising.

What happened though was that in the period that the Whiteside's voluntarily assisted Tom, the housework was being done in the main by Iris. Her no nonsense approach and natural ability to organise saw her do the work in a couple of hours each week. Consequently Tom's house was usually very tidy.

The Charter of the Blue Care Nursing organisation calls for the humane care of elderly, but does not include matters of personal relationships, of being involved with financial affairs of their charges, or of making judgements outside their brief without referring matters of concern to senior management staff. Being an organisation very much in the public gaze on Queensland's Gold Coast the administration are well aware of the effects of negative publicity. Consequently they appear to police their responsibilities with all due care.

Crozier's role as a senior nurse in being in charge of Tom Jowett, along with the ancillary staff, was that of a trusted employee. Her role was essentially to monitor Tom's general health. This consisted of keeping an eye on his advanced emphysema. His lung capacity was in the order of 40%of  healthy lungs and caused him great distress at times. This distressing disease accounts for over $US32 billion, in lost wages each year in the United States alone. Tom also had a history of what are called Transient Ischemic Attacks or TIA's for short. The treatment of this disease is difficult because they are of the short duration and are hard to differentiate from a stroke. The safest way to treat these is to assume the worst and regard it as a real stroke. To safeguard as one is able it is desirable to eliminate smoking, alcohol and to maintain weight. Symptoms can include: numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body; confusion or difficulty in talking or understanding speech; trouble seeing in one or both eyes; and difficulty with walking, dizziness, or loss of balance and coordination. Notwithstanding this medical condition the senior caring nurse had completely ignored these chronic well recorded problems. Tom Jowett on the day that Bruce Whiteside had first visited him in mid March weighed 7 stone and 10lbs, he was smoking two and sometimes three packets a day; in other-words a chain smoker and frequently drank spirits. To compound the problems he had partial sight in one eye as a result of a car accident some six years previous. This, although the hospital records were inconclusive was put down to a heart attack he suffered at the time..

All of this was known to Senior Blue Care Nurse Carole Crozier, yet she did absolutely nothing to curtail any of Tom's vice's. One had to ask just what action she could have taken. As a nurse she would have taken some form of oath as an article of faith in order to attend the obtain her registration as a qualified nursing sister. It is true that as a service, they have no power to force a client within their care to obey their advice. However if that was the case with Tom Jowett and given the delicate nature of his health, the logical thing to have done was to report the matter to Senior Administration. This was not done and therefore the Blue Care Nursing organisation were not aware of any problems.

This aside Tom had since the death of his wife Sheila indulged in quite a few transient female relationship. Most of these women had called on Tom, gone out occasionally and promised to drop in and see him from time to time. For the most part these outings were very short and in order to make an impression he would make presents to them of some of his late wife's possessions. Among these gifts were dinner sets, jewellery, paintings and crockery.

Fran, Yoko, Trish, Saraid, Belinda, Kathy, Irene and Susan, were names that Whiteside became aware of. They were names that had no faces at the time, but they were names that had varying degrees of acceptability or rejection. Tom's main gripe with many of the women was anchored to their sincerity and his own vanity. For instance they would take him out for the day and he in turn would be very generous. When the time came for them to take their leave, they would promise to call again and drop in with a cake or home made biscuits to which he was rather partial. Not only did Tom like to escort ladies and enjoy their company, something that he had done over a lifetime, but he liked companionship within his own home. But Tom was also easily slighted. He expected something in return for his generosity, and that was continued friendship.

Next Chapter
Return to Book Index