Family falls ill after hospital visit

A pregnant woman wants answers from Auckland City Hospital after she and three family members became violently ill with a stomach bug following visits to an elderly relative.

Jaynie Ball, 34, suffered vomiting and diarrhoea after visiting her 78-year-old granddad at the hospital on Friday.

Three other family members, including her 79-year-old nana, also fell ill after visits last week.

Ms Ball, who is 22 weeks pregnant, has blamed their illnesses on the "disgusting" state of toilets on the hospital's sixth floor.

She said one toilet was blocked and overflowing, but nobody at the hospital seemed interested when her uncle tried to complain.

Ms Ball took hygiene precautions during and after her visit, but she still fell ill and remained unable to eat yesterday.

"I've lost 1.7kg from getting sick, so it's not very nice for any of us."

None of the family members have been tested for a stomach bug, but Ms Ball said it was too much of a coincidence that four of them had fallen ill.

They had visited the hospital's general medicine and infectious diseases ward at different times between Wednesday and Friday last week, and none had been in contact with Ms Ball before she fell ill.

"It's way too much of a coincidence," she said.

"I think they need to look at their hygiene because all of their toilets were disgusting, so I can see how people got sick. And I think they need to do a really thorough investigation of why people are getting sick when they go up there to visit."

Ms Ball laid a formal complaint with the hospital on Monday.

However, she was concerned the hospital had told her it could take seven to 10 days to respond.

"By the time they look into it, I'm not sure how many other people will get sick before they sort it out," she said.

"You worry that there's going to be people who are even more at risk than us getting sick going in there. These are just the four cases I know of - there could be people getting sick all over Auckland from going to Auckland Hospital."

An Auckland District Health Board (DHB) spokesman confirmed it had received a complaint about cleanliness in a ward.

"The complaint will be investigated promptly and a response provided to the complainant as soon as possible."

The DHB was asked whether it was investigating the possibility of a stomach bug on the ward but the spokesman declined to respond.

- By Matthew Backhouse of APNZ

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