3AW’s Derryn Hinch and Neil Mitchell have had a heated argument on air over the death of a boy at Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital this week. Hinch alleged that Mitchell was involved in a cover up about how long it took the hospital to find a bed for the teenager. Mitchell says there was no cover up and that he has no evidence, at this time, that the boy was disadvantaged by the actions of the hospital. 3AW is a long supporter of the hospital’s yearly funding appeal. Listen to Mitchell and Hinch debating the issue on air, after Hinch’s editorial suggested Mitchell conspired with the hospital’s PR team to cover up the long waiting time.
In his opening editorial, Hinch said:
“In his explanation today Neil Mitchell twice mentioned the fact that Shaun had spent ‘some hours’ waiting in emergency. There’s a helluva difference between ‘some hours’ and seventeen hours. Ask Shaun’s father, who was so desperate last Friday he got a friend to call 3AW for help…
“Mitchell knew about the delay and didn’t mention it on air. The hospital knew we knew about the delay and I believe 3AW and the hospital media unit together have put the best public relations spin on it all to preserve the RCH squeaky clean, Good Friday Appeal image.”
After covering the story earlier in the day on his own program, Mitchell rang Hinch to respond to the editorial, explaining to Hinch that he had no evidence of how long the delay was, and that, despite being in the Emergency Ward for some time, the teenager was not disadvantaged in his treatment.
In a later tweet Mitchell summarised his conversation saying: “Please everybody remember what matters in this is a grieving family. A boy has died . Nobody else matters. Let’s leave it. That was my point.”
To complicate the matter, the boy, Shaun Wilson-Miller, had been battling a chronic heart condition and was told by doctors he would not have long to live after his body began rejecting a second heart transplant. It is believed he had discontinued his medication.
See more on the story from 3AW’s RIP page, which includes a message from Neil Mitchell.
Meanwhile, in other matters at the Fairfax Media camp, print journalists will strike tomorrow after the announcement of job cuts at various Fairfax newspapers. It is not known whether journalists such as Hinch and Mitchell, and journalists at 2UE, 6PR and other Fairfax radio stations, will take any action in support of their colleagues.