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Personal Submission there submission

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Posted 22 March 2005 - 09:57 PM

18 September 2004


SUBMISSION TO THE SELECT COMMITTEE OF HEALTH

Re:-
Injury Prevention, Rehabilitation, and
Compensation Amendment Bill (No 3)

From:-
DUNEDIN.
Ph. (03)


We would like to appear before the committee to speak to our submission.

We are making this submission as a result of our Son's experience with the failings of the health system together with the anomalies and interpretations of the ACC Act and its practical restrictions to providing cover and support.
His ACC case No. is (++++++++++)
His case has dragged on for Seven & a half years without getting any major support.
We therefore support the general intent of the bill but would like clarification of various clauses.

With particular reference to Clause 13 section 32 Page l0)
(1) "Personal injury caused by treatment (& treatment injury)"

What about lack of investigation & referral for a Specialist opinion at the time to be followed by the appropriate treatment
Also lack (4 treatment.

(2) "Personal injury caused by treatment or injury treatment DOES NOT INCLUDE the following" kinds of personal injury"
(a) Personal injury caused by or attributable to a person's underlying health condition.

In *****'s case he did have an underlying condition which needed urgent attention if problems occurred, this did not happen. In his case:-
(I) Lack of Investigation
(2) Lack of recording of vital symptoms on official medical records.
(3) Lack of referral (0 specialist for a 2nd opinion at the time resulting in:
(#) Lack of appropriate treatment leading to complications because of nor receiving prompt attention.

(b) Personal injury that is solely attributable to a resource allocation decision.

We would like this clarified.

(3) The fact that the treatment did not achieve a desired result does not in itself constitute personal injury caused by treatment or treatment. injury.

What if an underlying condition such as *****s?

With particular reference to Clause 13 section 33 (Page 11)
(1) (d) "a failure to provide treatment, or to provide treatment in a timely manner."

What about *****'s case with an underlying condition which was not Treated Promptly?

(h) "the application of any support Systems used by the organisation responsible for providing the treatment, including policies, processes, practices, and administrative systems."

We would like this section explained.
In our case poor standards of verbal communication skills of Doctors of foreign nationality.
The removal of some middle management from the Wards.

We have several areas of concern with regards our Son's experience with the Health System & ACC

1. The failure to provide treatment and the failure to carry out basic examination should be considered in the same way as incorrect treatment. Failure to record vital information should also be so considered.

2. The present need for a victim of incorrect treatment (or of non-treatment) to have to prove error by a medical person is discriminatory.

Our understanding is that ACC was set up as a "No Fault Accident Insurance"
However in the case of a medical accident/misadventure the victim is left to prove that a medical practitioner has been in some way at fault.

This appears to us to remove medical accident/mishap from the realm of "No Fault"

The process which ACC requires the claimant to go through to prove their case is hindered by the medical profession refusing to put critical statements which ACC require in writing in order to get cover.

We have obtained a number of written statements from medical personnel which go close to making the critical statement of error without actually committing themselves to it.
Also the claimant's evidence appears to be ignored by ACC who appear to rely solely on written medical documents.
In *****'s case a significant record of a critical symptom is missing from the official medical record.

*****'s case was the subject of a Health & Disability Commissioners Report. (Report No. HDC 18056 VC)
Which criticised the failure to pursue a vital part of the investigation of *****'s condition at the time and the failure to seek a 2nd opinion from a more Senior doctor. It also recommended that an annonomised copy of the report be sent to all Health Providers in New Zealand pointing out the need for the Doctors to diagnose a patients condition by symptom specifics and that guide lines be set down in all A&E Departments recommending this.

*****'s case has also been the subject of a formal review which Mr. McGreevy of ACC had requested and we are awaiting the outcome as of 18/9/04.

We understand ACC's aim is to rehabilitate an injured person as quickly as possible.
This has not happened in our Son's case. His case has dragged on for seven and a half years and he appears to have fallen through all the cracks of all the various systems due to legislative and funding criteria

***** did not get the investigation or treatment he needed from the hospital at the time we requested help on various occasions.
Not only did the doctors not provide ***** with the care he needed at the time they still refuse to help or support him to the present day by not making the necessary written statement as required by ACC.
This is effectively blocking the help and compensation ***** needs. Where is the medical ethics in this?

Because of this he has been subjected to other stresses financial, physical and emotional due to lack of support from the hospital or any other organisation assuming responsibility for his case.
He has been left to his own devices to retrain with limited help from WINZ and Workbridge which has been extremely frustrating.
At the present time he is not even getting WINZ help, as his wife has been given 6 weeks full time employment.

The whole episode is an utter disgrace to medical standards and to other support Systems of this country which is supposed to be a civilised nation.

The medical profession/system appears content to defer treatment/investigation of a patient's condition and diagnose by guesswork (as in *****'s case). Underlying conditions are often masked by the treatment of pain instead of investigating the cause of the pain at the time (as in ******7s case).
Indications are that this is done to save money but can and does result in the condition deteriorating and costing more to treat in the end) not to mention the other costs to the victim, family and the country (ACC included).
And in ******'s case a further disability.

He has loss. of vision in left eye, partial loss of vision and colour in right eye, brain damage resulting in seizures and considerable short tern memory loss. Had he been given the proper attention in the beginning he could have returned to work relatively quickly


****** has been frustrated by the lack of support, financial & physical, as he lost his job due to his injury He is also frustrated at nut being able to get on with his life because of the lack of support with his physical difficulties of day to day living, not the least the lack of more than the basic monetary assistance. He has even had to resort to getting help from a "Food Bank"

Also the almost nil, and in fact at times, negative reactions to requests for assistance in his endeavours to retrain.
We, his parents, are assisting him physically and financially where the systems are failing.

Some organisation must take responsibility where it is found that an injury has occurred and is attributable to inadequate health care.
The injured person must have speedy access to support, rehabilitation and compensation, and not have to battle government departments and organisations in proving a case. Requests for assistance often falling on deaf ears and invariably meeting with an inability to assist due to lack of funding.

The health service as a whole must be held more accountable and where it can be proven there was a failure on their part, the Health system in conjunction with

ACC should have to share the cost to the injured person. The injured person should not be further disadvantaged.
This would show the true cost of inadequate health care.

Simple apologies to the injured person are not adequate, as they do nothing to raise standards of care, and in fact add further stress and insult to the victim. It would be more to the point for the injured person to get speedy access to care, support and Compensation.
The injured person also needs to have evidence demonstrated to them, of steps that are being taken to prevent a similar injury occurring

It may be necessary in some circumstances to impose a penalty on the organisation providing the service in order to uphold the standards of medicine.
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