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A Mothers Submission Her Submission wanting change for the be

#1 User is offline   doppelganger 

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Posted 22 March 2005 - 10:03 PM

20th September 2004

Submission re: Injury Prevention, Rehabilitation and Compensation Bill (No 3) Government Bill

I am most interested to read in the Overview:
".....this Bill is to continue the Government's commitment to a fair and sustainable ACC scheme for reducing the incidence and impact of personal injury, by proposing amendments to the medical misadventure provisions".

I believe the current regime to be unfair and discriminatory in its handling and treatment of medical misadventure claimants/claims.

Briefly I will explain my personal experience of the current 'medical misadventure" scheme and how it has impacted on our son, myself and other family members.

On 6 February 1993, our son, *********, was born at Middlemore Hospital. I had endured 3 1/2 days of an extremely difficult posterior labour. Despite our son's severe fetal distress the morning of his delivery, ***** was not delivered until 01.47 p.m on that day.

I had to be administered a general anaesthetic, as an epidural was ineffective, and an emergency caesarean was performed. During the procedure there were problems intubating me. Both my son and I needed to be resuscitated.

Subsequently, ****** went into cardiac arrest. He was severely asphyxiated. He suffered from hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy, as a result of the severe asphyxia, a "brachial plexus" injury, meconium aspiration and kidney failure. He was placed in the Special Care Baby Unit.

Today, ***** is eleven years old, and suffers from hearing loss, an expressive and receptive language disorder, micrograthia, and some other deficits due to his birth injuries.

Although ***** has been in the care of various doctors over the years, there has been a reluctance to acknowledge that these events took place, and to provide records and help, to assist us. Some medical practitioners have been somewhat disinterested and shown an unwillingness to assist ****. I have, on many occasions, since ****'s birth, been left despairing in my efforts to get help for our son.

I have also had to stand by and watch, as other people have got help and support, and I could get none for ****, through no fault of his or our own.

I can exemplify this. A friend of mine and her family were involved in a bad car crash. Unfortunately, her son was badly injured and left with head injuries. They were able to get help for him from the beginning, i.e. date of accident. We would certainly not begrudge this assistance. This is exactly what should have happened!

In our particular case, despite my very best efforts to obtain assistance for *****, it would be some seven years before ****'s claim was accepted by ACC.

I can remember, on one particular occasion, I saw my then family GP, before **** was due to start school, still trying to get things in place for ****. He charged us $140.00 for the consultation and did not complete a claim form for ****. He then held on to our medical records for months and did nothing. In utter frustration, my husband phoned him, and collected the records from his surgery.

I think the way we have been treated by the hospital, some medical professionals, ACC, bureaucrats and officials has been unfair and feel we have been wronged. It has certainly been unhelpful to the person injured and suffering.

Any improvement to the scheme, whereby this sort of scenario discontinues, is of real merit and benefit. Mostly, it will help the injured person.

As I see it, medical professionals are reluctant to participate in the claim process, because of the "Blame" culture. This needs to change At the same time the injured person's needs are paramount and need to be addressed.

What is required now is not only words but an action plan to remedy the difficulties and injustices, which have taken place too often. It has been families who have borne all the costs when their loved ones have been injured. Our society, and indeed, our government, needs to come to the party!

Might I suggest the appointment of an ACC contact in hospitals, similar to that of the Privacy Commission. Any costs involved should be absorbed by ACC, thereby avoiding financial wrangling.

All incidences of medical misadventure would need to be reported to the ACC contact, within 2 to 3 days after the injury. This should not be a problem, as it would now fit in with the "no-fault", "no blame" culture.

The role of the ACC contact would be to initiate contact with the patient and family. Forms would need to be completed with copies for the parties involved Therefore the date of injury would be clearly identified, without argument. (A current bone of contention regarding recognition of an injury and cover.) This would allow quick processing of a claim, and a three month review would take place to ensure actioning has occurred. This would also allow "the veil of secrecy' to be lifted on such events.

As part of my submission, I enclose various relevant correspondence relating to our particular case.

It should be noted, contrary to any assertions, from Day One, and at no point, were we advised to apply for ACC, nor advised what assistance was available.

I hope too, that there is political will to make changes for the better, and of benefit, to the patient and that our experience has not been in vain.

But, unfortunately, I remain highly sceptical. I sincerely hope I am proved wrong.

Should the Health Committee decide to hear submissions orally, I would wish to do so. My husband, ********** (same address and phone number) would also like to take the opportunty to speak. Present, also, would be my father ****************, Auckland, phone number ***********.

Yours faithfully,

( mother)

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