Susan Wigmore is not pleased with the way she was treated at Dunedin Hospital's urology department. Photo by Craig Baxter.
''Shocking'' is how a former nurse describes the way she was
treated at Dunedin Hospital's urology department.
Susan Wigmore, of Warrington, said she was unhappy with the
time it took to receive treatment for a cancerous growth in
her right kidney and with the way she was treated by staff at
the hospital's urology department.
Her GP ordered an ultrasound following ''wonky'' blood tests
in April and after months of waiting in the public system,
she borrowed some money from a friend and had a private
ultrasound at Mercy Hospital in September.
The ultrasound showed an 8cm cancerous mass in her kidney.
She went to the urology department at Dunedin Hospital to
discuss her treatment options in October.
''I went in and had a pretty disastrous meeting with what I
found out was a young registrar,'' Ms Wigmore said.
The registrar did not introduce himself and she still did not
know his name. He spoke to her rudely and abruptly, she said.
''When this young doctor was banging on, I broke into it and
said `hey, I'm a health professional of 25 years' and then
his manner changed. But I thought why should I have to prove
my credentials before I get what should be general
She was informed the surgeon would remove part of her right
kidney by open surgery and was also told: ''it won't be a
matter of weeks, it will be a matter of months until we can
do surgery'', she said.
She questioned why they would not remove the whole kidney, as
it had limited function due to a past medical condition, or
perform keyhole surgery. The registrar said he would call her
the next day, she said.
After she did not hear back from the registrar, she again
visited her GP and wrote a letter of complaint to the
She received a letter from surgical general manager Lynley
Irvine in December, a copy of which Ms Wigmore supplied to
the Otago Daily Times, which said ''the doctors
concerned ... asked us to convey to you a very sincere
apology for your distress and anxiety over the way in which
the clinic was conducted''.
Ms Wigmore said she had since been referred to Southland
Hospital and would receive keyhole surgery later this month.
However, it did not make up for the manner in which she was
treated or the delay in receiving treatment, she said.
Southern District Health Board medical director of patient
services Richard Bunton said urology services at the hospital
had been stretched, as ''for the past couple of years we have
had to manage with one [consultant urologist] plus locum
The situation had improved as two new urologists would start
at the hospital this year, one in March and the other in May.
He could not comment on individual cases, but said ''urology
services are provided to patients in a safe, timely way
consistent with clinical priority within the constraints
relating to availability of consultant surgeons''.