Hospital officials are locked in a stoush with the family of a patient who wanted a free car and home modifications as compensation after a medical mishap.

The woman had to be rushed to Auckland City Hospital for emergency heart surgery two months ago after a procedure at North Shore Hospital went wrong.

She was sent back to North Shore Hospital to recuperate, and a medical source told the Herald on Sunday the woman's family became unhappy about the earlier incident and made compensation demands, including for a car and modifications to her house.

The Waitemata District Health Board, which operates North Shore Hospital, confirmed an investigation was under way into the incident, but would not comment further.


But the medical source said as tensions between the two parties increased - including the family's refusal at one point to allow the woman to be discharged - hospital bosses issued an instruction that no female nurses were to deal with the family.

It is understood the family intends complaining to health watchdogs over the woman's treatment.

The office of the Health and Disability Commissioner could not be reached for comment yesterday.

The woman was finally discharged from hospital this week.

The source said some modifications were made to the home she lives in, but it wasn't unusual for DHBs to help fund modifications to properties of patients, including ramps and railings in bathrooms and toilets, the source said.

A spokesman for Waitemata DHB said the investigation was expected to be concluded next week.

"We cannot comment further about individual patients until our investigation is complete," the spokesman said.

The family could not be contacted for comment. Peter Schmidt, an Auckland lawyer specialising in accident compensation, said the family would likely have several avenues available to pursue if they felt aggrieved.

"If this was an unfortunate accident while a patient was receiving treatment then a claim could be lodged with ACC," he said.

"The usual process would be to contact the relevant DHB with any grievance and advance a complaint through the Disability Commissioner."

North Shore Hospital provides health services to more than 560,000 residents living in Auckland's North Shore, Waitakere and Rodney districts.

Its emergency department deals with more than 60,000 cases a year.