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Treatment of elderly cancer patient ‘Third World’

John Carter
National Party MP for Northland

10 June 2006

Treatment of elderly cancer patient ‘Third World’

The health system’s treatment of a 72-year-old Far North woman who had her nose removed because of cancer is Third World and a disgrace, says National MP for Northland John Carter.

The elderly woman had surgery last year to remove cancerous tissue, which resulted in her entire nose being removed. She has been told she can’t get prosthetic surgery to replace the nose because she is too old and because she lives in a rural area, which means her risk of infection is low.

Since the surgery, which took place last September, the woman has been too embarrassed to be seen in public.

“For nine months now, this woman has been living with a large hole where her nose and the right side of her face should be,” says Mr Carter.

“Understandably, she is afraid to leave her house, she is embarrassed, and she is in extreme distress.

“Her GP has said that ‘walking around like this is not acceptable for a First World country’.

“I absolutely agree. Her treatment has been abominable. Frankly, there is no reason good enough for her to be denied a prosthetic nose.”

Mr Carter has been told that an 18-year-old man who lost his nose in a P lab explosion about the same time received a replacement nose in just six weeks.

“This shows just how out of kilter this Government is with its priorities. I don’t believe this woman should be left with a disfigured face just because health officials think she is too old.”

Mr Carter says he intends to raise this case with Health Minister Pete Hodgson when Parliament resumes next week.


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