Chil­dren’s ward donor left dis­mayed

Otago Daily Times - - GENERAL - MIKE HOULAHAN Health re­porter mike.houlahan@odt.co.nz

FIN Heads had hoped he would be hand­ing over a brass plaque to mark his do­na­tion to the chil­dren’s ward at Dunedin Hos­pi­tal, but in­stead he has been left feel­ing brassed off.

In Fe­bru­ary, Mr Heads gave $10,000 to the ward in the name of his late wife Shirley and late son Peter.

His only stip­u­la­tions were that the money be spent on ‘‘some­thing for the chil­dren’’ and that he be al­lowed to make a for­mal pre­sen­ta­tion to the hos­pi­tal on April 28 this year — the 10th an­niver­sary of his wife’s death.

Mrs Heads was work­ing at the hos­pi­tal when she was killed in a road ac­ci­dent dur­ing her lunch hour.

Af­ter 20 years’ ser­vice at the hos­pi­tal, she was just weeks away from re­tire­ment.

Mr Heads, who worked for the hos­pi­tal for 33 years, was dis­mayed at the missed dead­line, and lack of com­mu­ni­ca­tion from the hos­pi­tal about his gift.

‘‘I want it spent; I want it spent on the kids,’’ he said.

‘‘I can’t present it on the dead­line I wanted to, so I’ll have to present it at an­other time, but I don’t think I could jus­tify rec­om­mend­ing peo­ple give money to the chil­dren’s ward frankly, if that’s the way it’s treated.’’

His last con­tact with the hos­pi­tal was a meet­ing in­volv­ing him, his daugh­ter and son­in­law, and clin­i­cal charge nurse Shirley Bell.

‘‘They started talk­ing about a ‘su­per cot’ cost­ing $8000, which I didn’t have any prob­lem with,’’ Mr Heads said.

‘‘I said ‘are you still go­ing to make the dead­line for me to give it to you on my wife’s an­niver­sary?’ and they said yes, but it came and went.’’

Mr Heads’ son­in­law con­tacted the hos­pi­tal and in re­turn re­ceived a let­ter apol­o­gis­ing for the de­lay.

‘‘I was dis­ap­pointed ob­vi­ously, and I still haven’t heard a thing,’’ Mr Heads said.

‘‘I know they’re busy and ev­ery­thing . . . but here it is now in June and not a dick­y­bird.

‘‘They may think $10,000 is just an in­con­se­quen­tial sum, but I don’t think that to be the case.’’

Ms Bell said with agree­ment from Mr Heads his do­na­tion was be­ing used to buy a cot for sick ba­bies and tod­dlers.

‘‘We’ve kept Mr Heads in­formed of the progress of our ef­forts to iden­tify and or­der a suit­able cot, and have met with him on sev­eral oc­ca­sions,’’ Ms Bell said.

‘‘We ad­vised him that we would try our best to have a pre­sen­ta­tion on the 10th an­niver­sary of his wife’s death on 28 April but re­gret­tably we were un­able to do this be­cause the cot has not yet ar­rived.

‘‘We’re sorry if this de­lay has up­set Mr Heads and we are very much look­ing for­ward to ac­knowl­edg­ing his very gen­er­ous do­na­tion once the cot ar­rives.’’

Ms Bell said the cot was a piece of equip­ment much needed by the ward and would be well used.

‘‘We are al­ways ex­tremely grate­ful for all the kind do­na­tions we re­ceive for the Ro­tary chil­dren’s ward and are de­lighted with Mr Heads’ gen­er­ous do­na­tion in the name of his late wife and son.’’

Fin Heads

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