DHB to review care of mother

LOUISE BERWICK AND AMANDA PARKINSON
Last updated 05:00 06/09/2013
Sucharitta Milton
JOHN HAWKINS/ Fairfax NZ
HELP WANTED: Sucharitta Milton, pictured here in 2010 with her dogs, says she was sent home in pain from Southland Hospital on Sunday.
David Milton
JOHN HAWKINS/ Fairfax NZ
BLAME: David Milton, pictured here in 2009 with his dog Clifford, is angry at the degree of care Southland Hospital afforded his wife Sucharitta.

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Three-week-old Noklair Milton is no longer in a critical condition, but remains in intensive care.

The newborn was airlifted to Starship Children's Hospital on Monday afternoon and has remained in a critical condition since then.

However, a hospital spokesperson said there was "good news" today, with Noklair no longer being in a critical condition, but they would not comment whether she was still in an induced coma.

Yesterday, the Southern District Health Board said it would review its care of the mother of a three-week-old baby whose throat was slashed. But the woman's husband says he doubts a review will change anything.

Sucharitta Milton went to Southland Hospital in "absolute agony" on Sunday morning but was discharged with post-natal depression and mastitis within hours and told to visit her GP the next day, her husband David Milton said.

Yesterday the health board announced it had launched a "thorough" review into the care Milton received.

However, David Milton said he was not convinced the review would address patient care issues.

"You know these things, everything gets swept under the carpet," Milton said.

His daughter, Noklair, is still in a critical but stable condition in Starship Hospital.

She was transferred there on Monday afternoon after being taken to Southland Hospital following a "violent attack" early Monday morning.

Southern District Health Board chief executive Carole Heatly said the situation was "tragic" and "extremely difficult".

"We are committed to ensuring all outpatients receive safe, high-quality care, and if that was not the case, we will undertake clear action to improve our service."

"The DHB is limited in what it can comment on around this case as we need to respect patient privacy and are also mindful of the ongoing police investigation into this matter."

Meanwhile, messages of support have flooded in for the family through Facebook and Twitter.

Milton said he wanted to thank those people who were being supportive and understanding.

"I just thank them for their thoughts."

In May the Ministry of Health released $18.2 million for a specialist maternity mental health unit in Auckland but none of the funds were designated to South Island services.

Ministry of Health Mental Health deputy director Dr Arran Culver said services in the south were well established.

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"The South Island already has an acute inpatients and community service for post natal depression in Christchurch," Culver said.

Christchurch has up to six beds assigned to its maternity mental health unit.

A Southern District Health Board spokeswoman said the board could not comment on what postnatal depression was or where women could receive support.

"The DHB will not be able to respond to these questions today," she said.

The Ministry of Health also declined to comment on Milton's treatment.

"Comment about treatment at Southern DHB should come from the DHB," a ministry spokesperson said.

- The Southland Times

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