I couldn't believe it when I read the headline:
"Man told pain due to hysterectomy"
But the detail kept coming:
"A Dannevirke man has lodged a complaint with MidCentral Health after they allegedly failed to diagnose his gallstones, instead telling him the severe stomach pain he was experiencing may have had something to do with a "past hysterectomy".
A hysterectomy is the surgical removal of a woman's uterus but Les Kennington, 39, is a man, and has fathered three children."
Go read it yourself. I bet he wishes he had private medical insurance.
BUT it gets worse. What's truly shocking is not the mistake - anyone can make a mistake, but the blizzard of bullshit the ensued when it was discovered.
Mr Kennington's nurse took the matter up with the DHB but they just sent the same report back. Which means, that even when a nurse said there was something wrong, they didn't even look at it. You can tell, because if they had even given it a 2 minute glance they would have spotted the horrendous mistake.
This whole incident is completely whitewashed in the official response to Mr Kennington's complaint: the MidCentral Clinical Director said the error was picked up in a routine check. What he doesn't say is that they ignored the nurse's alert. Why?
Like a fool he then goes on to say that the 'single error' had no impact on diagnosis or treatment. Well, the rest of us think it was the diagnosis, and it was wrong.
Although it is entirely possible that the recommended treatment was 'leave it alone' this is understandably suspect when you have got two major things wrong: the sex of the patient, and the supposed earlier operation.
But it gets better.
The DHB has made a decision to continue looking stupid by retaining the report on the patient's file, supposedly because of a Radiologists guideline which holds that even reports which are amended are retained. This is a good rule, when professionals may diverge on interpreting results. But when the results are plainly wrong it leaves the risk of the error being repeated.
Simply put, this all smacks of "we know best" carried on long after it has been shown that they don't.
Their PR machine could do with a tune up too.
If you have ever wondered why you might want private medical insurance this is reason enough.