Concern at bleeding woman's hospital release

NEIL RATLEY
Last updated 05:00 17/01/2013

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A standard one-night operation at Southland Hospital turned into a five-day nightmare for one Queenstown woman, her husband says.

Now David Simpson wants answers and an apology.

Mr Simpson has complained to the Southern District Health Board and the Health Ministry regarding the treatment of his wife, Christine, saying she had been discharged without a proper assessment and had not been in a position to ratify the decision to discharge her.

Mrs Simpson was booked into the Invercargill hospital for surgery at 7.40am on Friday on the understanding she would stay at the hospital that night, he said.

However, Mr Simpson said he returned to the hospital after his wife's surgery - the removal of a lesion - to find her "bundled up" and ready to go home.

"On returning to visit my wife after surgery she was discharged to go home even though forms in the possession of hospital staff indicated there was to be no decision-making on her part," he said.

"My wife has been declared unfit by mental health experts to make decisions regarding her wellbeing," Mr Simpson said.

Mr Simpson said he was listed as his wife's carer and had power of attorney.

His wife was assessed two years ago by a psychiatrist who determined a series of brain aneurisms had caused major damage to his wife's thought processes, he said.

He said he objected to the discharge because it had earlier been confirmed she would remain in hospital for the night.

"I was given three absorbent pads and told the district nurse would visit Saturday morning at the motel we were booked into," he said.

"My wife was not seen by anyone following surgery at all and was still bleeding badly."

At 6pm on Friday, several hours after being discharged, Mr Simpson said the bleeding was so bad he phoned day surgery.

"When I took Christine back to the hospital I took four bed covers, that I had obtained, full of blood that had leaked through her pads," he said.

His wife was admitted to the recovery ward where she spent Friday night.

On Saturday morning, a doctor treating his wife ordered her to be discharged but his decision was revised by a more senior doctor, he said.

Mr Simpson said his wife was transported back to Queenstown in an ambulance yesterday.

The combination of poor procedures and a lack of communication at the Southland Hospital had been disgraceful and caused a lot of stress and trauma for his wife, Mr Simpson said.

"The discharge system in place does not appear to take into consideration a patient's mental health and medical history," he said.

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"I want to see that process overhauled, I want to see better communication at a patient management level and I definitely want an apology."

Southland surgical directorate general manager Lynley Irvine said the hospital would work with Mrs Simpson and her husband to resolve any issues.

Asked to outline the discharge process, the district health board declined to respond, citing patient confidentiality.

- The Southland Times

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