Dy­ing for a se­cond bis­cuit

The Northland Age - - Front Page -

Takahue man Pete Smith has been act­ing for much of his adult life, but he wasn’t read­ing from a script last week when he said he was lit­er­ally “dy­ing for a se­cond bis­cuit”.

Mr Smith, 60, known for roles in films in­clud­ing Once Were War­riors, The Pi­ano and The Quiet Earth, who has been un­der­go­ing dial­y­sis for four years, said he had been re­fused fur­ther treat­ment at the re­nal unit at Kaitaia Hos­pi­tal, and had been told that he would have to travel to Whanga¯rei three times a week for the treat­ment that was keep­ing him alive.

He was re­fus­ing to do so, know­ing that de­ci­sion would kill him, per­haps within days, a week or two at most.

The re­nal unit’s de­ci­sion to refuse fur­ther treat­ment, which the North­land Age un­der­stands was made by clin­i­cians, with the sup­port of the DHB, fol­lowed an in­ci­dent over a bis­cuit. Dial­y­sis pa­tients were given a cup of cof­fee and two bis­cuits when they ar­rived for treat­ment, Mr Smith said, and he had ob­jected when he was given one whole bis­cuit and the re­mains of a bro­ken one. He asked for an­other and was re­fused, a nurse telling him that he had been given two.

Mr Smith, who took of­fence at ef­fec­tively be­ing ac­cused of ly­ing, said he “spun out”, kick­ing a ta­ble over.

He was told to leave and not go back. He would have to go to Whanga¯rei for fur­ther treat­ment, and when he said he would not do that, he was told he would die.

He con­ceded that his coun­te­nance might be in­tim­i­dat­ing to some, and that his be­hav­iour on this oc­ca­sion might have been ques­tion­able — “They walk on egg shells when I’m there but I don’t go look­ing for it” — but ar­gued that the unit had an obli­ga­tion to re­solve the is­sue, whether that be by of­fer­ing as­sis­tance with anger man­age­ment or ad­dress­ing the cul­tural needs of Ma¯ori pa­tients.

“Some­one — a Ma¯ori health ser­vice provider, men­tal health — has to have some re­spon­si­bil­ity for this,” he said.

His con­cerns in­cluded that

al­beit af­ter an in­ci­dent at his home, when the driver who had been sent to col­lect him saw Mr Smith and his daugh­ter “hav­ing a do­mes­tic” and drove off, run­ning over and killing two of his dogs as he did so.

Fol­low­ing that he had had to make his own way to Whanga¯rei, and was not pre­pared to do so again.

“I’m not leav­ing Kaitaia,” he said. “This is my town, my home. My fa­ther, daugh­ter and nephew all died at that hos­pi­tal, and so will I.

“Surely some­one can do some­thing about this. Why doesn’t some­one say, ‘Give the man a bis­cuit and shut up’?”

Ear­lier this year Mr Smith re­fused treat­ment in protest at the reg­u­lar sight of a sen­tenced pris­oner be­ing de­liv­ered to the main hos­pi­tal en­trance for re­nal dial­y­sis “in chains”. The sight of the el­derly man, who he be­lieved had to be at least in his 70s, and in no con­di­tion to es­cape, ar­riv­ing so pub­licly had re­duced one kuia to tears, he said, while it an­gered and up­set many oth­ers.

He said he would no longer present him­self for the process that was keep­ing him alive un­til he gained some “trac­tion”. The is­sue was re­solved the same day that his protest was pub­lished by the North­land Age.

Pete Smith was last week re­fus­ing to travel to Whanga¯ rei for dial­y­sis af­ter be­ing re­fused fur­ther treat­ment in Kaitaia.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.