A Hawkes Bay man’s cancer was misdiagnosed. He has kidney cancer. That is bad news.

He is asked to fly up to Auckland hospital for a full diagnosis. Does he need chemotherapy or is a liver transplant possible? But when he gets there he waits 4 hours before he is told there is no record of any appointment for him. Nevertheless they fit him in for a scan. They tell him there is nothing they can do for him as it is too far advanced. But they tell him palliative care will get in touch with him. But he has heard nothing from them. Then two months later he receives a letter from Ministry of Health saying he was eligible to claim for his travel costs. This was never mentioned before.

So here is a man under awful stress with this bad news. Five players were involved – his GP, Hawkes Bay DHB, Auckland DHB, palliative care (no-one told him who they were) and Ministry of Health.

Is it not possible for DHBs to give people in such circumstances a case manager to help him navigate through this health maze? Dealing with “little” things like no record of an appointment, how does he contact palliative care and reimbursement of his travel costs would drive anyone to despair – let alone the burden of a death sentence.

Truly we have a fragmented health system!

From Little things – Dominion Post Article 25 September