#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto !important; #header-inner {text-align: Center ;} Fiji Coupfourpointfive: League players give horror view of Fiji hospital

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

League players give horror view of Fiji hospital

Wesser and mates: Surreal experience after a visit to Colonial War Memorial Hospital (below) for appendicitis.

"Outside the room where Wesser lay, bashing victims - including many women - lay on yellow blood-stained mattresses. Nearby, a man with one leg moaned and hunched forward while suffering stomach pains himself. Four dead bodies came into the hospital in the five hours or so that MacDougall and Cross stayed with their friend. 'It was just surreal".

April 03, 2012
By Glenn Jackson

Rhys Wesser was rushed to hospital in Fiji in the early hours of his birthday on Saturday, wondering if he was about to die, but it would not be the closest that a group of retired NRL players came to death during their trip to the island paradise.

As Wesser, the former Penrith and South Sydney fullback, lay on a bed surrounded by domestic violence victims waiting for treatment, Adam MacDougall went outside the dilapidated Colonial War Memorial Hospital for air.

A white taxi pulled up with two passengers inside, only one of whom was alive. A distressed woman motioned for MacDougall to help her, so the former Newcastle premiership winner leaned in to pull the man - who at that stage he thought was alive - out of the back seat of the cab. 

The man was stiff like cardboard, wrapped in a sarong to his neck, and his eyes were open. ''He's no good,'' the taxi driver said.

''I picked him up to lift him out,'' MacDougall said. ''When I realised he was [deceased], it's human instinct, I sort of freaked out a bit.''

MacDougall and Wesser had been in Fiji, along with former Melbourne and Manly prop Matt Cross, as part of a visit through the NRL's Ambassador Program. They encountered floods, hurricane and cyclone warnings and airport chaos as they became stranded in the country, along with hundreds of other Australian tourists.

It was not the junket some might have expected but it would be rewarding nonetheless.

Wesser had started to feel unwell early on Friday, the day after the group's arrival, but the pain worsened during a dinner that night. His stomach felt bloated, but when he returned to his room he had throbbing pains. At 10pm, he spent 20 minutes on the treadmill and rode about 10 kilometres on the stationary bike, hoping that would ease the pain. It didn't.

He said he felt like he was being stabbed in the stomach. He showered and tried to sleep but the pain became more intense. He lay there for an hour, curled up on a bed in his hotel room in Suva, wondering whether he should risk a hospital visit in a country he did not know.

 ''I was thinking, is it appendicitis, is my stomach bleeding?'' Wesser said.

Eventually, he phoned MacDougall in his room just after midnight. MacDougall went to Wesser's room, thinking it was his idea of a joke, and was confronted by the Queenslander doubling over with pain, grabbing the right side of his body and saying he couldn't breathe.

MacDougall called reception and ordered a taxi, then phoned Cross, who had been joined by his wife Jodie, the NRL's community relations manager and the liaison for the trip.

''He said it was the worst pain he'd ever been in,'' MacDougall said. ''Whilst I was trying to remain upbeat, part of me was panicking, thinking: 'This is bad'.''

MacDougall and Cross took Wesser to the foyer. Wesser, a player renowned for his speed, was in so much pain that it took him five minutes to walk 200 metres. MacDougall asked the driver to take them to the nearest hospital, and the driver responded: ''He's f---ed.''

The frantic nature of the situation caused MacDougall to even seek advice from the makeshift ambulance driver. ''His organ's stuffed,'' the driver said. ''Operation.''

The taxi driver was good for something, though. He sped through red lights, flashed his lights and overtook cars illegally, and got the trio to the hospital in about half the usual time.

''I was terrified,'' Wesser said. ''I didn't know what was going to happen, whether they were going to cut me open. When the taxi driver pulled up, and we saw this random building, I've said to myself: 'This could be it for me.' I could walk in here and I won't be walking out.''

MacDougall offered the taxi driver a tip to help them communicate with the local medical authorities. Fortunately, there were rugby league fans among them, and Wesser was taken to the front of a long queue. Wesser was given morphine for the pain.

Quite early, doctors spoke of cutting him open; they said they would ready theatre. MacDougall had to convince them not to rush to take Wesser's appendix out.

Outside the room where Wesser lay, bashing victims - including many women - lay on yellow blood-stained mattresses. Nearby, a man with one leg moaned and hunched forward while suffering stomach pains himself. Four dead bodies came into the hospital in the five hours or so that MacDougall and Cross stayed with their friend.

 ''It was just surreal,'' Cross said.

As part of the Ambassadors Program, through the NRL's One Community, the players had been in Fiji to spend time in schools, teaching local children the basics of football and staying healthy. There were unexpected turns, yet they spread the message even amid the death and destruction.

They posed for photographs with police, security, doctors and nurses, and other tourists stranded with them - on April Fool's Day - at Nadi International Airport.

When they saw the flood-ravaged country, after Wesser was discharged - diagnosed with a stomach ulcer - from the plane which ultimately took the group from Suva to Nadi, they knew that the pain and suffering was being repeated everywhere.

When they returned to Sydney yesterday, via Auckland, they were exhausted and rattled, but amid all the dramas of the group's three days in Fiji, not one of the ex-players regretted going.

The NRL players waiting to leave Fiji
''When Jodie called me and said I was going to Fiji, I said, 'great','' Wesser said. ''I was thinking palm trees and maybe a cocktail. I wasn't thinking hospital, hurricanes, floods. ''I don't think anyone will understand what we went through.''


  1. mate sorry to hear this story.
    regime ceo in hospital.
    what can we expect from this army idiots running govt/hospital.
    they cant even read or write but become pm/ministers/ceo/ps .
    fiji is named now as uganda of the pacific.

  2. Whow! That's some story mate! .. A good tanoa yarn.. my goodness .. FUNASTIC Fiji!

  3. Get real...did he go around the ward asking them if they were bashed up? What did he expect to see in a hospital?...thats where you will see injured and sick people. You are not walking into a 5 star hotel. I thought rugby league players were tough men but now I know they are a bunch of softies/pufters. Seeing dead people or seriously sick people being brought to a hospital is a normal thing. Go to a major hospital in Australia and see how many dead and sick people are brought in one hour. Look at the photo you have posted and see the white sheets and cleanliness. How were you listening in to doctors wanting to cut you up when they don't do that in front of patients. Well they didn't cut you up did they? Stop trying to sound like some hero who has been through hell when you just showing the whole world what a bunch of pufters you really are.

  4. Marvellous. The ineptitude of the illegal and treasonous military regime is now plain for the world's tourism and sporting folks to see.

    While Shazza waxes lyrical about her PR election campaign snaps and her prowess in "product placement" the reality has a life of its own.


  6. Gee's toughen up lads! You jumped the queue too....try doing that in your own country!

  7. Lucky that they didn't open you up Wesser. ..a few healthy people before you are now one feet under

  8. This is why not many Fijians will ever want to play league.

  9. The army barracks have better beds and mattresses.

  10. Editorial: Chance for Fiji to advance. relationshttp://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/comment/editorials/6681565/Editorial-Chance-for-Fiji-to-advance-relations

  11. This story is so funny I was doubled over laughing myself!
    I like the taxi-drivers assessment : "He's f...ed".
    Also Rhys Wesser's description of the Hospital as "some random bulding"
    Oilei dredre ga mo cegu.
    That is true, the CWM Hospital in the night looks like a random building. No lights directing you to Emergency Dept etc etc. Also its covered in Pigeon Shit. (Why can't the bloody army waterblast it. There is so much water there now.)

    I bet they gave Wesser the clean white sheets because of his two white friends.

    The description of women rolling around in pain on an unclean mattress is all true because I saw it myself when I was there a few months ago.
    Patients have to buy their own sheets.
    Then what happens if the shops are not open. Duhhh! or the patient is poor.

    This is what happens when you have a "Look North Policy".

    The Coup is wrong.Bainimarama is wrong. The problem is we modern Fijians have slowly began to tolerate sin.
    We no longer know what is right and what is wrong. If there is a coup we just accept it. If someone rapes, we accept yaqona and that is supposed to make it alright.
    Bullshit! Right is right and wrong is wrong.
    And because of this we suffer the consequences.
    And that is why I say we remove Bainmarama and all who are chelping him NOW!. Not 2014.
    Waiting for 2014 is "tolerating sin" and this story depicts clearly what happens when a society tolerates evil.

    -Valataka na Dina.

  12. What a pathetic bunch of Wuzzes. These guys are meant to be tough guys! But they behave like a clutch of old women.

    If there are victims of domestic violence at CWM, how is that the regime's fault? Look at yourself Fiji!!!!

    The culture of violence has always been there and especially directed against women. Grow up!

  13. hi mate, the country is run by criminals and thugs,gud news you are back home

  14. How can one decide just by looking at a building that he will not come out of it alive?
    It seems even at time of disaster some desperate people still want to maniplate the situation.

  15. Wesser had started to feel unwell early on Friday, the day after the group's arrival, but the pain worsened during a dinner that night. His stomach felt bloated, but when he returned to his room he had throbbing pains. At 10pm, he spent 20 minutes on the treadmill and rode about 10 kilometres on the stationary bike, hoping that would ease the pain. It didn't.
    Now you either so stupid to do what he did and then complain of the services! What was the outcome-we don't know what the diagnosis was-he left the hospital did he get any treatment? Something did work because after he got out of hospital we don't read any more about his pains. Come on guys give our people a break -staff at the hospital were working under tyring times its easy to sit in our arm chairs & make complaints! Before you go on your travels its important to know you covered by health care -and yes there is a Private Hospital in Suva-ask any locals. Whats so new about dead people arriving in a car or cab at the hospital has happened in Australia or you don't beleive it?

  16. A lot of people have died as a result of stress and many other social problems like domestic violence is the result of economic hardship caused to the people by this illegal regime.

  17. The overall impression the world has is that Fiji is a third world country with lots of domestic violence and derelict people and hospitals that can't cope. Is the report really so far off from the truth?

  18. Sounds more like a 'whinging pom' than an Aussie.

  19. Duh...you ring reception & explain the situation yeah?
    It is then their job to direct the taxi driver to the nearest & best medical facility that Fiji can offer....Private Hospital or CWM. Or is St Giles closer?

  20. Truth hurts Fiji and Fiji regime. These players are stars...the story has gone viral around the world. You can;t try and dismiss what they saying so easily buddy

  21. Yes the truth hurts, Fiji has gone backwards ever since this illegal wannabe regime took over the Country.

  22. Pretty Boys trying to act tough. Take away the comforts of a developed nation and walla suddenly tough Rugby League players ain't so tough no more. Our hospitals have been the same since 1940. It does not matter who is in power in 3rd world countries only the rich have a chance. Every racist prejudiced Fiji citizen this is on your head. You are the reason we are still 3rd world.

  23. Star's in Australia maybe! Mate it's not that big a story.Not on TV here in Oz! Don't get me wrong,terrible things have happened in Fiji but what did they expect? We are a third world country!

  24. fiji cant pay back da one billion dollar waila city scam how can fiji get the monies to repair the flood?

    Fiji will be nbankrupt and nothing else .

  25. FIJI FIRST CAMPAIGNApril 3, 2012 at 3:23 PM

    AND when was fiji's health system really swanky aye? ever ...no no never under any PM but only under the British. All you bloggers need to wake up man and stop blaming just this government.

  26. What did these rugby league players expect? You are going to a hospital where sick people go to. Did they go around asking the women if they were bashed up. Common guys they probably played rugby union over the weekend and that's why they look that way and they even more man enough than you not to complain. Look at the photo you posted and it's clean and well presented. What did you expect a 5 star hotel? maybe you were in the woman's ward because they knew you were sissy.

  27. @Anonymous 10:33
    Jumping the queue happens in all hospitals all over the world, including Australia. It's called triaging. It allows people who may die in the next half hour a chance to be treated straight away. Usually a doctor or nurse does this initial triaging.
    It's good to see that it is also happening in Fiji.

  28. Hahaha stop trying to be stars guys when you're not.. Go to Bollywood with your script because it just doesn't tally. Where in the world do doctors decide to cut people up first thing in front of patients. Fiji doctors are poached by Aus & NZ if you didn't know. No wonder not many in Fiji play league because of sissy' s like you lot. That's why real man play rugby.

  29. The photo says a lot, he seems to be comfortable in a very clean room.

  30. @Fiji First
    Can you name the Prime Minister who built the new wing of CWM Hospital, new Intensive Care and new Surgical Units?
    I bet you can't.
    I'll give you a clue. It's not Frank.

  31. They seem pretty specific in what they saying about women being bashed:how could they have got that wrong? Be pretty hard to miss something like that

  32. I thought Fiji have the best public service since Frank and coup government. Yellow blood stained mattresses? WTF!

  33. What did the ignorant white trash expect? He lives in a developed country and came to a developing country. Oilei! And I bet they accepted hospital services without paying a cent for their treatment when they should've declared they weren't Fijian citizens.

  34. I was born at the CWM and been there for an operation - they do very good work there because they get a lot of practice.

    The CWM has never looked nice - and the taxi trip sounds very dramatic - and the domestic violence is evil - but the hospital staff are amazing.

  35. Ex St Giles patientApril 3, 2012 at 5:24 PM

    The Dictator prime minster will be surprised to hear this story because he does not frequently visit the CWM hospital most of his visits are to St Giles hospital.

  36. @ 3.51pm
    Read the article,apparently their so called league fans allowed them to be seen first! Does that happen overseas?

  37. Anon@3.53pm. CWM hospital is one of the dirtiest in the pacific. No wonder you have have white sheets turned yellow. What a disgrace!!!. This is the result when a mad man of a pig is running the country.

    NZ and Aust poaching Fiji doctors? Mate what solvent are you sniffing? Wen Fiji doctors go to these CPU tires, especially NZ, they have to sit exams in order for them to work there, because the standard is high compared to Fiji. Vuaka, those sheets are fit for a pig sty.

  38. Fiji up sh!ts creek!April 3, 2012 at 6:38 PM

    Those women waiting to be seen at CWM were bashed from their husbands and partners because Fiji lost in the Japan 7s.

    Now peeps, that is the true measure of character of Fijian men, they conveniently turn their frustrations on their loved ones.

    How about behave like true men and challenge those cunning foxes in power guarding and stealing from our national treasury!

  39. The colour of the matress is the same as that of the bottom of the chief goon's white naval trousers after having a few Chinese whisky.

  40. Fiji doctors are very marketable in Aus and NZ. That's where they all are. Chief surgeon at CWM was surgeon in Sydney and recently returned to give back to his country his expertise. Fiji has been loosing it doctors to the two neighbors all this years so I don't know what what anonymous @6.34pm is on. Maybe he is on a solvent which is what he knows best. More of our doctors are returning because work and pay conditions have improved.

  41. You know when the Century Theatre screened "Once We were Worriors" I think this was the movie, The Main Maori Boy started beating his wife.

    When the beating finished all the house full audience very respectfully starting clapping.

    One of them must be the husband of the wife that got beaten that was at CWM!

    Where are the Human Rights Abuse Activists gone? Or is it limited to CRW only?

  42. What a bunch of DRAMA QUEENS!!!! Why didn't they go to the Private Hospital???? Was it too expensive for them?

    Domestic violence is all over the world... just amazes me that the white men could tell that's what happened to the women, maybe they recognize what they used to do to their lewas back home :)

  43. You say u tired!April 3, 2012 at 8:59 PM

    Oi these people tourists how they know where to go? They relying on hotel info and taxis hello! They sick, man - dont' take it out on them Fiji has bad rep!! Fiji is to blame for her history and future

  44. Fiji up sh!ts creek!April 3, 2012 at 9:32 PM


    We all know that bashing up females partners and spouses is a cop-out for cowards who have tiny d!cks and a pea-sized brain to match.

    Throwing your hands up in exasperation that domestic violence happens everywhere is defeatist's attitude and only serves to perpetuate a gender-bias against females in an already stifling patriarchy society. Did you somehow think that they are lesser humans?

    We can all see from the photos that those tourists have mouths on them and appear to be engaged in conversations with other patients at CWM. So of course, they would have asked those women how they had sustained those visible injuries.

    "A nation's greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members"
    - Mahatma Ghandi -

    And a good place to determine that is through the health care systems of a country.

    Now, do we know for certain what the death count is from the recent floods?

  45. @ you say u tired....

    If they had half a brain they would have checked with the hotel reception or in-house doctor NOT A TAXI DRIVER IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY!

    You're too short sighted!

  46. Anon@7.49. I know a lot of Fiji doctors driving taxis because they can't practice in NZ or in Australia. They're marketable in china if that's what you mean.

    As for women bashing, that's normal in Fiji, especially after they lost the sevens. By the way, the Indian who burned his wife just got sentenced in NZ, and hey that's normal isn't it?

    Meantime, don't forget to sniff more solvents, as that's what you're good for.

  47. I'm not surprised as Fiji is now on par with third world countries, thanks to your intelligent PM Voceke..NOT!!!

  48. How would those women sustained such injuries? These guys must have been told that they were beaten. So all you idiots, that was the case. Stop trying to hide the problem as Fiji is now on the verge of becoming a lawless country. Well in a way, there's no judiciary so it's lawless.

  49. Good story but does not convince its factual, all to destroy the credibility of Fiji-nice try-Think of something more dramatic to gain support!!!

  50. Anonymous 4:19 and others, why is it that every story is about race? How do you know the white guys didn't pay for the services, and why should they pay, anyway?Shouldn't the patient pay? The patient isn't white, but to some people somehow this human interest story is now about race.

    When it's about race, fine, call it like it is. But every issue?Fiji will never progress until people like you put your prejudices behind you and stop making everything about race.

  51. The medical service in Australia is no better though smarter but no better. It is easy for any first world country to pick on third world countries but I dont get the moral of this story. Is 4.5 trying to show that brutality by Military regime is still going on? The four dead persons God Bless their Soul were they murdered by the Military or is this another sensational story to bleed sympathy and tears from cowards who fight with words from abroad.

  52. Its so sad to read comments from bloggers who have nothing better to say about our beloved country. Remeber you are not attacking the regime you making the people believe that we are a backward country.

    Anon @ 7.47 even commented that Fiji is a lawless country. People's interpretation of lawlessness differ, depending on their experience. An Iraqi reading this blog would think that we have the same level of lawlessnes they have in Iraq.

    Please if you are against this regime, dont take it against the country and we her beloved citizens.

    I have always supported the rugby League players, not anymore.

  53. The issue is about the services offered by the hospital. These guys told what they experienced, and it wasn't good. For a hospital to be in that state is simply unacceptable. Dirty and stained mattresses is very unhygienic. What about the poor guy who was already dead on arrival?

    People who came out accusing these guys of telling lies should get their facts right before they comment. Perhaps truth hurts as the saying goes. It doesn't matter if the patient is a tourist or a local, they expect to get treatment in a clean environment, not in a state that was described by these Aussies. It gives Fiji further bad publicity, especially the state of it's health sector.

  54. Anon@3.02pm. What have you got against these rugby league players? Are you saying that you're not going to watch Lote, Petero, Akuila and other Fijian players because these Aussie guys gave an account of what they experienced? That's a very childish attitude, and I can only conclude that you're hurt by the truth.

    I think your hostile reaction brings out your hatred towards certain people, and that can only come from an uneducated moron.

  55. @anonymous 3:06pm......what is it about the guy dead on arrival. It has got nothing to do with the hospital, they didn't kill him. He was already dead on arrival. Are you going to blame God? Get real and grow up. Look at the bed that bloody sissy league player is on. It has white sheets and look at the clean surroundings. Go worship the Aussies if you think so highly of them.

  56. @ 3.02pm.

    That's OK, no loss for rugby league since they've just gained a new FAN!

  57. They should be happy they are alive, thanks to CWM.

    I wonder why they did not go to Suva Private Hospital. Maybe, they did not want to pay for the service. If u want first class service, be ready to pay.

  58. Anon @ 12.14 pm, I have been to the Randwick hospital, and its like a hotel, the nurse are friendly, the facility A1, the treatment very thorough and the care alone makes you well. In comparison, my friend and I had to take a bedsheet to the CWMH to a relative cos the attendant said they dont have sheet to spare.

  59. Anon@7.10. If you can read, the Aussies were commenting on what they saw, and it wasn't a pretty sight. Stop being childish and accept the fact that CWM is now in it's worst state ever. The patients they saw weren't being attended to, the dirty mattresses and sheets were there for everyone to see.

    One can see this type of thing in a third world country, and sadly CWM is heading that way. It's a basic human right for anyone to be treated at a hospital, and sadly those patients referred to in the article were left there and that is a sign that things aren't right.

    As for worshipping the Aussies? I think you should do that because you need all the help as Voceke is incompetent and egotistical, and the people are suffering.

  60. I spent four months in CWM Hospital! As crappy as it I missed the staff and fellow friends I got to know; even cried when one died whilst I was admitted. This rugby league spoilt brats should grow up!

  61. @anonymous 6:22am go ahead and worship the Aussies if you think so highly of them. So stop being childish and solia yani na mumu to the Aussies.

  62. Vutusona@3.43pm. I think you're the childish one, as you're defending something that gives an accurate account of the Fiji health system under this illegal regime. Truth hurts ay mate.

  63. Really pity the League Players who were visiting the Country for the past few days.....
    But...we cant do much..
    Before, Fiji was well known for its Coconut Trees, Cocktail, Sandy Beaches, etc....But lets face it...
    The Wanna-Be Leaders of this country think highly of themselves and do things the way they want it to be....and besides...keep in mind that whenever you go somewhere to do things and enjoy yourselves:dont expect things to go your way.....sometimes you should expect the unexpected.....

  64. Some idiot thinks when we go to Aussie or NZ we walk thru the door to become Drs or Nurses yes we sit for exams and we do pass-don't ever under estimate the training in Fiji that prepares out people to compete against others who also migrate to these countries!Fiji is up there alos mate sorry to tell you.

  65. what did you think to see in hospital?...its not a hotel lobby for heaven's sakes...

  66. ..a public hospital for that matter - suva private hospital is just down the road if you had expected VIP treatment..

  67. They should have enough money to pay for treatment at the private hospital. After all any poor bastard visiting australia needing hospitalisation get a massive hole burnt in their pockets and thats in a public hospital. Would be interesting to know how much he paid for his stay in hospital.


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