18 Sep 2023

Hospital failings cost man an eye in Wellington region

5:26 pm on 18 September 2023
Dr Vanessa Caldwell.

Health and Disability Deputy Commissioner Vanessa Caldwell Photo: RNZ / Jimmy Ellingham

A man has lost an eye after a hospital in Wellington region failed to give him sufficient postoperative care.

The Health and Disability Commissioner has found Capital and Coast District Health Board (CCDHB) breached the code and gave inadequate postoperative care following the man's eye surgery in July 2019.

After experiencing pain, it took two weeks of phone calls before the man, who is in his 30s, was able to make contact with administrative medical staff.

He did not get a follow up appointment - at a different hospital - until five weeks after his surgery.

By then, the man had suffered corneal graft rejection and developed an infection, which caused him to in lose his vision.

In February 2020, he had to undergo surgical removal of his eye.

Health and Disability Deputy Commissioner Vanessa Caldwell found CCDHB did not provide the man with a service of reasonable care and skill.

Caldwell said the man was failed by systems that were not fit-for-purpose and did not facilitate care that was timely, appropriate or safe.

She said a series of communication breakdowns were avoidable and administrative shortcomings deprived the man of the urgent advice and care he needed, despite his repeated attempts to seek help.

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