A stoush has erupted between an injured woman and Whanganui District Health Board, with both sides claiming the other has made errors and misleading or incorrect statements.

Merenia Donne, of Whanganui, said she fractured her skull after hitting her head on a structure earlier this year.

She said a referral was sent from her general practitioner to Whanganui Hospital on July 19, but said the hospital took three weeks to respond, before returning the referral to her GP and not offering treatment. During this time she suffered nosebleeds and headaches.

However, Whanganui District Health Board chief executive Julie Patterson said the hospital did not treat Ms Donne because the referral was mistakenly sent to the hospital, and was actually addressed to a surgeon by name at a private clinic in Wellington.


Ms Donne said the health board has made a "massive mistake".

"They just haven't dealt with it properly," she said.

"You don't send somebody with my diagnosis back to their GP. You don't leave the referral sitting on a desk for two weeks.

"Surely there's some massive mistake here. I just don't get how a hospital thinks it would be perfectly okay to send someone with a fractured skull back to their GP."

Ms Patterson said "the whole thing is nonsense".

"If the referral had been sent to the correct location, there would have been no delay in the referral being received by the private Lower Hutt-based surgeon.

"Having received the referral in error, it would have been inappropriate for Whanganui DHB to have taken any other action than to send the referral back to the GP, so that he was aware of the error and could then send the referral to its intended recipient."

Ms Patterson admitted it did take around three weeks for the hospital to realise the referral should have gone elsewhere, but only after it was assessed as low priority.

"She was not in any way compromised. This nonsense... about nosebleeds, it's nothing to do with this very, very small indentation that she has on her forehead."

"She's been happy to slam us... with absolutely no cause. As you can imagine, for all our staff here, I'm very unhappy about this."

Ms Patterson said the manager of patient safety called Ms Donne to discuss the issue, before the issue was made public.

"I'm completely baffled as to why she should have wanted to cast these quite unfair, inaccurate dispersions on Whanganui Hospital," said Ms Patterson.

Ms Donne said she only approached media because she had heard other similar stories.

"I'm concerned it's just the tip of the iceberg and I know I'm not the only one."

"Everybody will say there's two sides to every story, and that's true, and sometimes there's three because there's always the bit in the middle which is the core of the truth."