Stories | Patients

Maureen Coomber

“I think a lot of people take Cabrini for granted; they go there and they don’t see how much goes on behind the scenes to give them the care that they need"

“I think a lot of people take Cabrini for granted; they go there and they don’t see how much goes on behind the scenes to give them the care that they need"

Maureen Coomber

If you’ve ever had trouble hailing a cab, consider how much harder it would be if you’d just had open heart surgery or a hip replacement. Maybe you’re unwell and on your way for kidney dialysis or you’re on crutches or in a wheelchair?

The first time Cabrini patient Maureen Coomber used our patient transport service was after she fell out of bed and broke her arm. Repeated complications meant she was having to attend services at other Cabrini Health locations for services like MRIs and rehabilitation.

Cabrini set up its own patient transportation service for those needing to travel between hospitals or services, after the state government announced ambulances would no longer be providing this function.

But the bus Cabrini started running had a problem; it was booked all day, every day. When Cabrini decided to get a second bus, long-time Cabrini patient and supporter Ms Coomber was the first to jump on board.

“I’ve been a patient at Cabrini for maybe 25 years. Some of my grandchildren were born at Cabrini!” Ms Coomber laughs.

“I knew that Patient Transport existed, but I had occasion to use it in 2015, when Neil [bus driver and former paramedic] drove me to a rehab place in Brighton and then he also drove me to Hopetoun. I just thought it was so wonderful,” Ms Coomber explains.

Maureen had three rounds of surgery that year and having lost her husband and son to cancer, the Patient Transport service eased at least one of Maureen’s concerns as to how she could get to appointments like rehabilitation.

“Of course the service is really important, because I only have a friend or two that I can call on and I don’t like to use them too much.”

This wasn’t Ms Coomber’s first donation, either. Over the years she has donated to Let’s Beat Bowel Cancer, Cabrini Children’s Centre, breast care and research, a scalp cooling machine for cancer patients and Papua New Guinea Projects, of which her doctor, Professor Adrian Polglase was a part.

“Cabrini spreads its wings into 15 countries, it’s not just Malvern, Brighton and Hopetoun (Elsternwick). Most people don’t have any idea about how far Cabrini’s wings are spread and if I can make a difference, I will,” Ms Coomber says.

“I love giving money away, because money makes things happen. I see that what I give makes something happen. I gave a donation to the paediatric ward and I visited the ward and I knew that money would be used for something for the children. It’s a really, really good feeling. “