An Auckland mum whose teen daughter has been awaiting a CT scan since August due to a benign tumour in her jawbone says her daughter's health has been put at risk because of the "unbelievable shambles at Middlemore Hospital".
A spokesperson for the hospital, however, says they are only doing their best to keep everyone safe as the city remains in Covid-19 lockdown.
The 17-year-old went in for a scan on Monday after learning just days earlier that a spot had opened up. But she and her mother were turned away at the door after disclosing the student works part-time as an essential worker at a Pak'nSave supermarket in Botany which was previously listed as a Covid-19 location of interest.
"Self-monitor for Covid-19 symptoms for 14 days after you were exposed at this location of interest," the Ministry of Health has advised of the September 15 exposure event. "If symptoms develop, get a test and stay at home until you get a negative test result AND until 24 hours after symptoms resolve."
The advice does not require isolation unless symptoms develop. The teen had none and has been continuing to work and go about regular activities allowed under alert level 3, her mother said.
"We did the right thing" by disclosing the location of interest, as requested, at the hospital's reception area, said the mum, who has asked to be identified only by her first name, Judy. "We just got penalised for it."
A spokesperson for Counties Manukau District Health Board, which operates Middlemore Hospital, said the agency can't comment on specific cases.
"However, our policy under Covid-19 level 3 lockdown is to screen all visitors and outpatients on arrival at Middlemore," the spokesperson said. "One of our screening questions is whether outpatients have been at a location of interest in the last 14 days. If a person proceeds beyond front door screening, and have answered yes to any of the reception screening questions, further clinical assessment is required which may result in patients being turned away.
"Screening, and further clinical assessment where required, are important procedures in our infection prevention controls. Our priority is to keep our hospitals, clinics and sites safe for everyone."
The 17-year-old has been dealing with the bone lesion - otherwise known as a tumour - for about six years and the family was hoping it wouldn't grow. But at their last doctor's appointment in August, the teen was told it had grown and it would need to be scanned.
"We were waiting because Covid happened," her mum said.
If the tumour continues to grow it could result in permanent nerve damage and numbness, the family fears. The young woman is also worried that if untreated it could become more noticeable.
Most worrisome, they said, is they haven't been given a new appointment yet.
"We did tell the hospital how important this appointment was," she said.
She has contacted the DHB, the Ministry of Health and Middlemore Hospital.
In a complaint to Middlemore which Judy shared with the Herald, she pointed out that the Government often advises during the daily 1pm Covid-19 update press conferences that people should seek medical attention if needed.
"This has not happened," she wrote, adding that she wants answers why.