Tea taken, patient parched
Ending up in hospital for a week, a decent cuppa and a hot meal were all Raewyn Clark longed for. Yet, it wasn’t what she got. She was sick with the flu for five days at Middlemore Hospital in July, an experience she says was very unpleasant.
Her food was cold and inedible, her bed wasn’t made, and she received no help with showering, she says. Because of her sickness, some staff wore masks while attending to her, while cleaners and food handlers didn’t, which she says seemed to be a double standard.
The tipping point was when her husband, Grahame, tried to ease her stress by making her a cup of tea - only to find hot drink facilities were removed from the ward. Staff then told him visitors kept stealing the supplies, so they were moved to a staff-only area.
‘‘All in all, it was not a pleasant stay, I was determined to get home,’’ Clark says.
‘‘I told Grahame that if I ever have to go to hospital again, do not put me back in Middlemore.’’
Clark has been to Middlemore Hospital twice this year. The first time was after getting concussed from a fall, where she ended up in the stretched-to-capacity ED and was discharged within the day. The second visit, only weeks later, was for a chest infection which led to the flu virus, resulting in her five night stay on two different wards.
Clark let the health board know she was unimpressed, and pharmacy manager Sanjoy Nand came to visit her while she was in hospital. She says he was empathetic of her situation.
Responding to Manukau Courier, Nand says he apologised to Clark for her meal at the time, which was cold because it was a late order due to her arriving later in the evening. He confirms the tea and coffee had been removed from the ward because of visitors helping themselves to the supplies. Medicine wards have since reinstated the open area for patients and families, with hot water, supplies, and a microwave, Nand says.
He says staff who are in direct contact with patients must follow standard infection control precautions, and he says those were followed. Nand says bed sheets aren’t changed everyday, only on request or if required. Counties Manukau DHB spokeswoman Lauren Young says the DHB is sorry Clark’s experience didn’t meet expectations.
Not being able to get a cup of tea at Middlemore Hospital was just the tipping point of Raewyn Clark’s ‘‘unpleasant’’ stay during this winter’s rush.