Dead patient's lost notes might have altered treatment

Last updated 05:00 03/12/2012

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A rest home failed to keep proper paperwork on events surrounding the death of a grossly overweight resident, before losing her notes.

Wellington coroner Ian Smith has released his findings into the death of Joan Thomson, 72. He found that if better documentation had been kept on her health, she might have been admitted to hospital.

Mrs Thomson died at the Elderslea Lodge in Upper Hutt on August 12, 2010. Two days before her death Mrs Thomson began vomiting. Dr Zahurul Quddus gave her an anti-nausea drug. On August 12 she was found to have collapsed, and died soon after.

Elderslea owner Oceania Group had a policy of keeping progress notes on residents' health, but some time after Mrs Thomson's death, it was found her file was missing.

A nurse later told an Elderslea Lodge manager that she had been updating Mrs Thomson's file when she was urgently called to her bedside. The nurse had not updated the notes and did not know what had happened to her file.

Oceania Group completed an internal investigation into the events surrounding Mrs Thomson's death.

The coroner said Oceania admitted failing to properly document what happened but did not believe there was a link between these failures and the cause of Mrs Thomson's death - acute haemorrhagic pancreatitis.

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- The Dominion Post

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