Matthew Backhouse

Matthew Backhouse is an APNZ news reporter based in Wellington.

No outbreak at Auckland hospital - DHB

Jaynie Ball is upset that she and three other family members contracted a bug while visiting her grandfather in hospital. Photo / Richard Robinson
Jaynie Ball is upset that she and three other family members contracted a bug while visiting her grandfather in hospital. Photo / Richard Robinson

Auckland City Hospital is assuring the public it does not have a stomach bug outbreak as more visitors come forward about stories about falling ill with painful bouts of vomiting and diarrhoea.

Jaynie Ball laid a complaint after she and three relatives, including her 79-year-old nana, became violently ill following visits to her elderly granddad on a hospital ward last week.

Ms Ball, who is 22 weeks pregnant, has blamed their illnesses on the "disgusting" state of toilets on the hospital's sixth floor, including one which she said was blocked and overflowing.

Other hospital visitors have since spoken out about poor toilet hygiene and bouts of stomach illnesses.

One Auckland woman, who did not wish to be named, said her daughter and a friend both fell fell violently ill after visiting the hospital's high dependency unit on the weekend.

Her daughter had suffered painful vomiting and diarrhoea, which she had then passed on to her boyfriend.

She was still feeling too unwell to return to work.

Another woman, Lisa Rogers, said she had suffered diarrhoea and nausea for a night and a day since accompanying her brother, a cancer patient, to the oncology day unit on Monday.

Another mother, who also didn't wish to be named, raised concerns about the "disgusting" toilets in neighbouring Starship Hospital, where her 8-year-old son had undergone a double hip operation.

Her son was discharged on Monday last week, but was vomiting by Wednesday and got better only on Monday this week.

Auckland District Health Board (DHB) spokesman Gilbert Wong said there was no outbreak of norovirus or gastroenteritis in any ward at Auckland City Hospital.

Clinical staff would be aware if there was an outbreak and would implement infection control procedures, he said.

Mr Wong did not deny anyone had fallen ill after a hospital visit, but said both norovirus and gastroenteritis were prevalent in the community.

Both were spread by poor hand hygiene.

"They're out there in our neighbourhoods - it's not necessarily something that you can track down to the hospital."

Auckland Regional Public Health Service, which is responsible for monitoring rates of norovirus and gastroenteritis in Auckland, said there were no more outbreaks than usual for this time of year.

The hospital has responded to Ms Ball's complain today.

Ms Ball said she was assured there would be meetings with staff about taking ownership if someone raised an issue.

Mr Wong said he could not discuss the details of her complaint, but said any complaint would be looked at seriously and dealt with promptly.

Anyone with concerns about toilet hygiene should let hospital staff know, he said.

"Cleanliness is a major driver of what happens in hospital - toilets should be checked and cleaned on a regular basis."

- APNZ

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