'Shoddy' hospital accused over death

By Lincoln Tan

Brendon Parrish. Photo / Supplied
Brendon Parrish. Photo / Supplied

A 37-year-old man had a fatal heart attack after appendix surgery at North Shore Hospital, and his angry family are demanding answers about his treatment and death.

The coroner is investigating the death of Brendon Parrish, who had surgery to remove his ruptured appendix at the hospital in Takapuna last month.

The Parrish family are considering laying a complaint against North Shore Hospital for what grieving brother Darryl Parrish yesterday described as "slack" and "shoddy" care.

"It was supposed to be a simple, straightforward appendix surgery. He had a ruptured appendix. It's not something you expect to lose a loved one over," said Mr Parrish, 36.

He questioned whether his brother was monitored properly after surgery and whether his life could have been saved.

He said Brendon had been a non-smoker who had a healthy lifestyle and had worked as a technician.

"We don't know if anyone is to blame for Brendon's death, but the matter needs to be thoroughly investigated, especially with all the horror stories coming out of North Shore Hospital," Mr Parrish said.

"I think they've been really shoddy and slack about everything."

He said the hospital's level of hygiene was an "absolute shocker", citing the lack of handwashing liquid in the toilet.

Mr Parrish said two of his friends had developed serious infections after being prescribed wrong antibiotics.

"There was [also] a Samoan guy who was in the bed next to Brendon who nearly died after he had his operation ... The next day, my brother died."

Alan Wilson, chief operating officer for the Waitemata District Health Board, who runs North Shore Hospital, said of Brendon Parrish's death: "We can't discuss individual cases through the media, but we always welcome patient feedback.

"We would encourage them to get in touch with us to raise their concerns and issues, and then we would go back and correspond with the patient, or in this case the patient's relatives."

North Shore has been the subject of complaints of overcrowding and staff shortages, which the hospital has said are being addressed.

Waitemata DHB is the largest in New Zealand, serving more than 480,000 people, and is said to be under pressure.

Between 2001 and 2006, the region's population grew 12.1 per cent and the number of patients treated at the hospital's emergency department is up 10.7 per cent on last year.

Brendon Parrish's death was the one referred to by Leanna Kairua in the Weekend Herald on Saturday when she told how her 18-year-old daughter Veronica's trip to North Shore Hospital with suspected appendicitis had turned into two weeks of hell.

Ms Kairua said her daughter endured excruciating pain as she was made to wait for hours in the waiting room, and received poor service from hospital staff, including doctors.

Her story has provoked a strong response - positive and negative - from people with their own stories about the hospital.

Ms Kairua said an incident involving "the death of a young man ... on the ward" made their experience even more disturbing.

"The police came and shut us in the ward," she wrote.

Darryl Parrish said his family did not call the police. Officers were called by the hospital because there had been a death.

Mr Parrish said the family were waiting to hear from the coroner before deciding what to do next.

He said his mother, Patricia, 67, was in the hospital with a broken back.

"I hear they're treating her okay, but I can't bring myself to visit her," he said.

"Brendon's death at the hospital is still too raw."

Waitemata DHB chief executive Dave Davies would not comment at the weekend on the case of Veronica Kairua, but said every aspect of the matter was being looked into.

He said issues such as overcrowding and staff shortages were being addressed.

- NZ Herald

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