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$3000 a week for paraplegic to wait for a home

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    $3000 a week for paraplegic to wait for a home

    $3000 a week for paraplegic to wait for a home

    October 08 2002
    By Fergus Shiel
    Law Reporter

    Rocca Salcedo wants to leave hospital.

    A Colombian woman paralysed in a road accident remains in a Melbourne hospital at a cost of more than $3000 a week to the Transport Accident Commission, even though she was ready to be discharged five months ago.

    Since Rocca Salcedo's case was first highlighted by The Age two months ago, the TAC is estimated to have spent a further $25,000 to keep her in the Royal Talbot Rehabilitation Hospital in Kew.

    Ms Salcedo, 26, has been a patient in the hospital since last November when, one month into a six-month study exchange to Melbourne, she was struck by a car as she crossed a road in Brighton and left paralysed from the waist down.

    Since finishing rehabilitation in May, she has been keen to leave the hospital to live with her mother.

    But she says she has been forced to stay put because the TAC has not found her a suitable place to live and is refusing to contribute to her rent.

    "It's very frustrating because I want to leave hospital but I can't," Ms Salcedo said.

    "The nurses and staff are very kind and the service is very good but it's so boring and sometimes very depressing staying here all the time."

    Ms Salcedo is in need of further treatment and must remain in Australia to receive it. The TAC pays her a weekly allowance to compensate for loss of income but says claimants are responsible for their living costs, including rent.

    The TAC has made offers of accommodation to Ms Salcedo but she says that, contrary to the commission's policy, the offers have been wholly inappropriate given her age, support requirements and lifestyle.

    Her lawyer, Cath Evans of Slater & Gordon, said only one accommodation offer had been made to Ms Salcedo in the past eight weeks and it was a drab place in Croydon, far from her treatment, study and social centres.

    She said Ms Salcedo's predicament was very disappointing, as the TAC's policy on the provision of residential care stated that it should maximise choice, dignity and independence.

    "Not only is this a great inconvenience to her but it's an unnecessary financial burden on the scheme," Ms Evans said.

    "It seems extraordinary that the TAC has spent another $25,000 keeping her in hospital over the past eight weeks."