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Hands Washed As 72-Year-Old Cuts Pieces Off His

16 August 2002

Minister Of Health Washes Her Hands As 72-Year-Old Cuts Pieces Off His

The severe pain that drove 72 year old Ted Matthews to take a knife to his gangrenous fingers and amputate them himself should be a serious concern to our Minister of Health, says National's new health spokesperson Dr Lynda Scott.

"The reasons for this appalling lack of care must be exposed. Annette King has publicly stated that 'the buck stops with me'. It is not good enough for her to now try and pass responsibility to doctors and the District Health Board.

"This man said he had been screaming with pain for 22 months. The final straw for him was receiving a letter from the hospital saying he had to wait six months to be treated.

"The underlying reasons for this tragedy must be investigated. Was it:

*Ageism - a DHB under financial pressure, believing that older New Zealanders are not a priority?

*Administrative incompetence?

*The fact that Mr Mathews lived in a rural area?

*Or a lack of communication between the GP and specialist?

"We need to know. Whatever the cause, the fact that an older New Zealander had to resort to such desperate action should appall all of us, including the Minister of Health.

"Labour promised New Zealanders that by paying higher taxes they would fix our health system. They have not delivered, and I intend to keep reminding them and the public of this over the next term," said Dr Scott.


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