Waikato Hospital's top boss admits his staff could have handled the treatment of a patient's wife better after she was turfed from his bedside and threatened with trespass.
Denise Perkins has been at her husband, Carl Perkins, lead singer of reggae band House of Shem, bedside as he waits to go into surgery for a cancer operation in Waikato Hospital.
Speaking on behalf of the family, former Mana Party leader Hone Harawira said he received a "very distressed" phone call from Denise Perkins last night after hospital staff "kicked her out of the ward and refused to let her stay" with her husband.
Harawira said the situation got so tense hospital security staff were also called with senior nursing staff on duty threatening trespass action.
In a post on his Facebook page early today, Harawira wrote "Denise rang to tell me that she has been at Karl's side for the last couple of days, but that [Tuesday night] they had kicked her out of the ward and refused to let her stay with him, even threatening to trespass her from the hospital if she didn't immediately comply with their demands".
"Denise had pleaded with them but they refused to listen. She was at her wits end, so she rang me."
Harawira called the hospital and spoke to the nurse in charge of the ward who said she had no authority to let Perkins stay by her husband's side, "even though she clearly had the authority to throw her out of the ward with security personnel standing by".
"They told her she wasn't allowed to be all the time," Harawira told the Herald. "And in fact the person in charge ... actually turned up with hospital security and told her if you don't leave, I will not only have you escorted off the premises, I will have you trespassed off the premises."
Harawira said he was left "bloody disgusted" by the incident.
"What they tried to tell me was that she doesn't need to be there all the time and she can come back in when she needs her. And I'm thinking, I've stayed in hospital's myself ... they let you stay. It's a common practice ... she must have been really worried to ring me."
Waikato DHB's interim chief executive Derek Wright today admitted "the whole thing could have been handled quite differently, to be honest".
"It was a really unfortunate incident involving a gentleman who had been on the ward in a single room. [Denise Perkins] was there at her husband's bedside.
"We needed that single room for someone who needed to be somewhere in isolation."
Wright said the decision was made to move Carl Perkins into a multi-bedded room with three other patients.
Due to being in a communal space, there was no room for whanau to stay alongside the patients.
"If it's a single room we welcome family and whanau being there because when you're in hospital it can be quite distressing. But if it's a multi-person [room] ... it becomes quite difficult."
However, staff had said she could stay in the lounge area which was on the same ward.
When questioned about the need to threaten to trespass Denise Perkins, Wright admitted the incident "did escalate".
"Hospital security staff were there and weren't used. She wasn't asked to leave the ward and she had been set up an area in the lounge.
"There was tension on both sides."
Hospital staff this morning managed to move Carl Perkins back into a single room to be with whanau, however he couldn't guarantee how long they would have the room for.
"We've now managed to find another single room and moved him back so his whanau can be with him."