Maori health officials upset but not surprised by inadequate treatment of Maori patient who later died

He had presented to the hospital emergency room five times in two months with symptoms. The man in his thirties developed a fatal brain abscess which is a rare complication of a middle ear infection.

The Health and Disability Commission said staff had not done enough to investigate the extent of the illness and whether the man had developed any complications.

Te Kōhao Health tumuaki Lady Tureiti Moxon told Morning Report this was not an unusual case.

“It happens very often, and more often than not it’s because people have a particular view of who they’re dealing with instead of our professionals looking at them as people and doing their best for the people before them. “

She said one of the health issues for Maori in the country was that people were dying prematurely from preventable diseases because they weren’t getting the diagnostic tests they needed.

“They should have looked at him and said ‘OK, five times, that’s probably a record’, but no ‘will send them home… go to bed, take some aspirin, take a panadol and then everything will be fine well in the morning”. And then they don’t wake up.”

She said people needed to be placed at the center of health care in New Zealand.

Lady Tureiti hoped the Maori Health Authority would focus on prevention rather than cure.

Hospitals fall under Te Whatu Ora – NZ Health Authority.

Te Whānau Haunui chief executive Simon Royal said Maori have long been concerned about fair and equitable public health treatment.

He said negative views of hospitals are common and many Maori see them as a place to go to die.

Royal said clinician biases have gone on for too long and the monocultural approach to health must end.

In a statement, Whanganui Hospital said it had made changes to try to avoid cultural barriers and communication issues since the man’s death.

New staff must undergo training in equity and cultural inclusion, and they have a team to help Maori patients navigate the system, a spokesperson said.

The changes had been in place for two years, but he continued to carefully monitor his DE, they said.

“Te Whatu Ora – Health New Zealand Whanganui expresses its deepest condolences to all involved in this very sad situation, especially the whānau who mourn the loss of a loved one.”


About Antoine L. Cassell

Check Also

Posters emphasize the prevalence and need for prompt treatment of RVO

Posters presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology showed that patients …