An Okaiawa man believes his infant grandson's life was put in jeopardy for the sake of the cost of a blood test.
Gregory Taylor is speaking out because he fears Hawera Hospital staff are being pressured to put budgets before patients.
He felt it was the right time to talk to the Taranaki Daily News after the admission of his grandson to hospital in July.
Mr Taylor's grandson was taken to Hawera Hospital on Saturday, July 27, after becoming unwell. He spent about six hours under observation before being sent home.
However, not long after arriving at their Hawera home, family members noticed a rash on the one-year-old and immediately rushed him back to hospital.
It was at this point he was diagnosed with meningococcal C and treatment began.
His grandson was flown to Auckland's Starship children's hospital where he spent about 2 weeks in intensive care followed by three weeks in post-intensive care and three months of intensive rehabilitation.
When his grandson was admitted to Starship, Mr Taylor said the paediatrician asked the family why a blood test had not been performed at Hawera Hospital.
Mr Taylor said this test may have saved his grandson from a lot of pain and suffering.
"He looked shocking," he said.
This experience has led Mr Taylor to question whether budget constraints influenced the level of care patients received within the wider health system.
He said he would not want another family to experience what they had for the sake of avoiding the cost of a blood test.
"It's been a hell journey I would not wish on my worst enemy," he said.
Hawera Hospital clinical services manager Gloria Crossley said blood testing on the weekends was available on Saturdays from 8am-11am and Sundays from 9am-11am.
Outside these hours an on-call service was available at a cost.
She said the decision to request such services, as in the situation with Mr Taylor's grandson, was the responsibility of the medical staff involved.
"This is a clinical decision that is made by the medical professional concerned and would relate to the clinical presentation at the time," she said.
Services like transfers to Taranaki Base Hospital and maternity services are available at all times.
Mr Taylor said he had no complaints about the quality of the care his grandson received once he was diagnosed.
"Meningococcal disease is really hard to diagnose, I understand that," he said.
His grandson had recovered well to date and continued to undergo regular rehabilitation.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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