“The 91-year-old left for hours in a room with a COVID-19 positive patient has today reached out to me, furious at the risks he was exposed to,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.
“The elderly man with underlying health conditions, and two other patients were in a ward when a fourth patient with symptom of COVID-19 was brought in and left in the room with them for up to five hours.
“The 91-year-old, who doesn’t want to reveal his identity, said the man clearly had COVID symptoms, but wasn’t isolated from other patient until his test returned positive.
“He has told me he is aggrieved, but feels there’s nothing that can be done.
“Firstly, we understand how much pressure doctors and nurses are under at the moment, it’s winter, there’s COVID and there are enormous shortages of skilled people, partly due to the border being closed.
“The second thing we need to understand is Middlemore’s process of triaging to keep COVID patients away from other patients in a hospital setting, and use of PPE. It is now critical the risk of a hospital-wide outbreak is managed appropriately.
“The patient was put into a general ward despite being symptomatic enough to test for COVID, and left there for hours awaiting a test result.
“Third, it appears there was not adequate PPE use until after the case was discovered.
“Most of us follow the rules to the letter of the law. People are unable to travel to comfort loved ones, not even allowed to attend funerals. To think there would be so much carelessness in a hospital, will frustrate people who have been carefully following the rules.
“The sad irony is that because these patients were exposed to the COVID case they now won't see their families for two weeks because they’ll be isolating. They may be facing very serious medical challenges which this just adds extra stress to.
“I will continue to work with the man and his family to seek the answers they deserve.”