A Havelock North man has taken his own electric fans into Hawke's Bay Hospital to cool his recovering wife in what he describes as "unacceptable" conditions in her room.
Hawke's Bay Hospital has acknowledged eight complaints were received in the week that temperatures outside reached 30C-plus. However, no patient care was compromised, the DHB says.
David Eddy's complaint about the heat on his wife Sue's Level 4 surgical ward, where there is no air conditioning, is yet to land with the DHB.
Eddy says at the moment Sue, who is recovering from major surgery, is his main focus. He also wants people to know he has no issue with his wife's care - just her stifling room.
Eddy has been in and out of the hospital since January 31, when his wife was admitted and the outside temperature was 34C.
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"When she was admitted I said 'it is so incredibly hot' and we asked the nurses whether we could get any fans," Eddy said.
"The nurse came back in 10 minutes and said 'all fans are issued' and that none were available. We had to install two fans from home around her bed."
There was little air flow where Sue's bed was located in the three-bed room, apart from the flow created by the bedside fans, he said.
"The plastic-covered mattress and pillow induces patient sweating. In this stifling room she is constantly sweating and distressed by the relentless heat, and is now covered in a heat rash."
He said he wanted to see the rights of patients respected.
"It is extraordinarily concerning. I am so concerned about the heat she is trying to cope with. It compromises the health of patients," Eddy said.
"She is unable to get proper rest and sleep as a vital part of her recovery due to the consistent oppressive heat and lack of fresh or cool air. If it were not for the outstanding and caring nursing staff her situation would be unbearable.
"The nurses' hands are tied, they are doing everything they can."
John Burns, Hawke's Bay DHB's executive director of provider services, said the facilities team had done a lot of work to address the heat that wards experienced on hot days.
"Installing air conditioning is on the capital plan and will be considered along with a new hospital build or extensive refurbishment," Burns said.
"To help cope with extreme summer temperatures, big fans have been installed in wards along with window tinting, and there are additional smaller fans for patients. Ice-blocks have been provided to staff and lighter uniforms are being rolled out.
"The DHB received eight heat-related complaints, in relation to Hawke's Bay Hospital, last week. At no time was patient care compromised."
The DHB acknowledged the heavy demand around smaller fans, but did not condone people bringing in their own fans unless prior permission was given, he said.
Eddy said he intended to bring up the lack of air-conditioning units in the hospital with the DHB and local leaders.
"It is an oven, my wife is stuck with no escape. I intend to follow through, not only for the sake of my wife, but also for the sake of other patients."