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Hospital faulted for cancer patient's care

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 27/03/2017

A private hospital has been found to have "failed woefully" in its care of a 74-year-old cancer sufferer.

The man, who had terminal prostate cancer and bowel cancer with associated metastases, was admitted in 2013 for pain management and palliative care.

He stayed 23 days at the hospital, which is owned and operated by Bupa Care Services Ltd, before being transferred to another hospital, where he died shortly after.

Deputy Health and Disability Commissioner Rose Wall says there were numerous errors made at the Bupa hospital regarding the man's medication.

They include a failure to administer methadone for six days in accordance with his prescription, and administering oral haloperidol for five days despite the prescription having been discontinued.

Ms Wall says staff also failed on multiple occasions to record the administration of the man's medications correctly.

As well, despite the man experiencing high levels of pain, there were numerous times when his pain assessment and management were "suboptimal".

The hospital has provided a written apology to the man's family.

Ms Wall says the case is an example of poor end-of-life care.

"The hospital failed woefully in its duty of care to the man and his family at a critical time in his life," she said.

Ms Wall was also critical of the clinical manager and a registered nurse.

The clinical manager (also a registered nurse) was found to have failed to ensure that staff complied with relevant policies and procedures, particularly regarding pain and medication management.

The registered nurse failed to ensure that adequate clinical nursing assessments were undertaken and did not supervise staff in relation to medication management and clinical documentation.

Ms Wall recommended that hospital management provide ongoing training to all registered nurses.

She also recommended that the Nursing Council consider competence reviews of both the clinical manager and the registered nurse.

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