Radio NZ are carrying the story of a woman in isolation who is being denied an appropriate covid test by the local DHB.
A woman who suffers from extreme nose bleeds may be forced to stay an extra week in managed isolation because health officials are refusing to let her have a Covid-19 throat swab.
Karolina Jordan has been told she must have a nasal test despite the potential for her to haemorrhage from it.
Her husband, Warwick Jordan, said she was happy to have as many throat swabs as needed and had even had one before she left Europe to be cautious.
She was becoming increasingly distressed at being labelled a test dodger, he said.
Toi Te Ora, the DHB is saying that the throat swab is less accurate therefore she needs the nasal swab or longer isolation. However,
… government information given to all guests at the Ibis in Rotorua said though the more sensitive nasal swab was preferred, a throat swab was an option for those who could not tolerate one.
It only mentioned people needing to stay longer if they could not, or would not, have either a throat or nose test.
The problem I have here is not that a longer isolation time might be needed, but that there appears to be no taking into account her medical condition despite information saying that it can be. It’s possibly this is just poor communication/reporting, or maybe it is actual coercion and bullying.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health appears to be saying that DHBs can make their own decisions on this,
In a statement to RNZ, a Ministry of Health spokesperson said the ultimate decision was Te Toi Ora’s.
This is extraordinary. We need nationwide standards for both testing and communication with people in a stressful situation where health care is involved.
We have legislation in place to protect patients, the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights (regulations via the Health and Disability Commissioner Act).
Some of the pertinent parts of that here,
There’s no way to know from that short RNZ piece what is actually going on, but the Code says,
The onus is on the provider to prove it took reasonable actions.
so the ball is firmly in the DHB and MoH’s court here.
At the least the MoH needs to front up and explain national policy, where there is discretion and why, and what kind of situations a throat swab is deemed acceptable, including for children and people with specific disabilities. They also need to sort out the discrepancies between information being given to patients and practice. A sound bit response to MSM is entirely inadequate.
Questions for the DBH to answer are why is the throat test being refused? Is it a general policy? ie they will never let anyone have a throat swab? Or is it assessed on a case by case basis, and if so, what are the criteria? Is any of this being explained to the patients affected?
Maybe the MoH and the DHB need to talk to each and make sure that their patient information matches what is happening in practice.