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DHB Practising Age Discrimination On Elderly

Tue, 01 Mar 2005

DHB Practising Age Discrimination On Elderly Patient

The family of 83 year old Mrs. Maisie Rand are convinced the Mid-central District Health Board want her to die so they won't have to treat her illness, according to Democrats social issues researcher David Tranter. Mrs. Rand whose plight has been raised by Cheryll and Maurice Rand-Wildbore has been told that she could wait up to 2 years to see a cardiologist at Palmerston North Hospital.

Mrs. Rand was referred to the cardiology department by her GP Dr Edwin van der Merwe on 23 February 2005 because he wanted a cardiology assessment done on her together with advice on further treatment and medication requirements. Two days later Mrs. Rand became an acute admission to Palmerston North Hospital because of her acute medical state, including shortness of breath.

Mr. and Mrs. Rand-Wildbore mentioned the referral to the doctors at the Emergency Dept at Palmerston North Hospital whilst they were taking down her medical history and asked whether she could be seen by a cardiologist at that time but were told that the cardiologists do not see patients in ED and that they are only seen on an Outpatients Clinic basis and that is the system.

Due to the family's persistence Mrs Rand was admitted overnight for observation - the ED wanted to discharge her home with a diagnosis of Viral Gastroenteritis. Mr. and Mrs. Rand-Wildbore believe they chose this diagnosis when they did not know what was wrong.

The next morning she was seen by Dr Ross Hayton and when, during the consultation, they mentioned the cardiologist referral, he told Mrs Rand and the family in no uncertain terms that it was people like her that "jam up the ED" and that is why other people have to wait up to 10 ½ hours to be seen in the ED and that she could wait up to 2 years to see a cardiologist at Palmerston North Hospital and that is how the system works. When a family member told him that Mrs Rand would probably not be around that long Dr Hayton made no comment.

The family ask - is a wait up to 2 years to see a cardiologist acceptable? They, and caring New Zealanders would say no, Mr. Tranter said. The only alternative for the family is to go private but Mrs Rand does not have that sort of money.

Supportlinks - a MidCentral Health agency - was contacted this morning by the family to ask for their assistance but that has fallen on "deaf ears".

The burning question now is whether the Minister of Health and officials accept that a wait of up to 2 years is acceptable, Mr. Tranter said. The family have sent their story to Annette King and numerous other politicians and now await the health minister's response.

ENDS

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