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Lack of professionalism at a DHB

Right 4 ~ Standard of care ~ Orthopaedics ~ Hip replacement

A woman told an advocate that while recovering from a total hip joint replacement she had noted one of her legs was about 4cm shorter than the other. She said she found it difficult to walk and sit as she was in constant pain. At a scheduled follow-up appointment she had expected to discuss this problem with the surgeon. However, she was seen by a registrar who did not examine her, provided some form of explanation and a referral for physiotherapy. The physiotherapist made arrangements for her to have a prosthesis made for her shoe. However the pain continued.

After considering her options, the woman opted for an advocacy supported meeting with the surgeon so he could hear her concerns and also examine her leg. A request for a meeting was made to the DHB, stating the consumer would like the surgeon present. On the day of the meeting, the consumer travelled two hours to get there, and then had to wait a further three hours past the scheduled meeting time, only to discover that the surgeon would no longer be attending as he was "too busy".

By this time the consumer had become so angry at the lack of professionalism of the service and the lengthy wait, she refused to leave until she was seen by the surgeon. After a further lengthy wait the surgeon finally turned up. At her insistence he examined her leg and x-rays were taken. On the basis of these he advised the consumer she would need further surgery. She was given a waiting time of approximately three months.

Despite having to wait to see the surgeon the consumer told the advocate she finally felt that she had been listened to and that her concerns had been addressed and she was happy with the outcome.



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