The family of a young Auckland mum who died in hospital
two days after complaining of a sore arm says Middlemore staff
failed to tell them how serious their daughter's condition was.
Mother-of-two Rozzana Paitai was taken to Middlemore Hospital
by her father in the early hours of October 21, 2011, after
developing a sore right arm.
The 21-year-old died two days later after suffering a stroke
from a blood clot in her brain, a condition associated with
She had given birth to her second son, Jonah, three weeks
Her father, Tara Paitai, said he decided to speak out about
his family's experience after reading in the Herald about how
young, vulnerable Pacific and Maori women felt mistreated
when giving birth at Middlemore Hospital.
"I just didn't want it to happen to anyone else," he said.
"My last words to her were 'I'll be back later to pick you
up' and I told her I loved her and all that stuff," Mr Paitai
The Counties Manukau District Health Board (DHB), which
contacted Mr Paitai after APNZ requested comment on his
daughter's case, said it was unaware Mr Paitai had felt
"unresolved" about her death but had offered to meet him to
discuss her case, a spokeswoman said.
Mr Paitai said while a hospital representative had told him
they had asked his ex-wife whether she wanted to talk about
his daughter's case, he had never been approached.
"She would have just shut down, so I never knew about it."
Mr Paitai, who said he planned to take the DHB up on the
offer, described how traumatic the experience had been for
"When I spoke to the doctors, they said 'yeah, she'll be all
right, come back in the afternoon and you can take her
Later that day, he returned to find his daughter "had tubes
"The doctors were going 'oh yeah, she might not live'. It was
quite heartbreaking really," he said.
Adding to the family's distress was news Ms Paitai had been
given an extra dose of the blood thinning medication heparin
due to a staff error.
While a coroner's inquest found the error, caused after a
nurse misread Ms Paitai's test results, did not directly
caused her death, Mr Paitai said the way staff behaved had
"I told [Rozzana] that they would look after her and we could
go home afterwards.
"If I had more information I would have just stayed there,
wouldn't have cared about work."
The family also felt blindsided by the investigation into Ms
"They came back to say we need to get all the reports because
the coroner was taking over the case. We got interviewed by
the police, 11 o'clock on that Sunday night," he said.
No one explained why the police and the coroner had become
involved before the interviews, Mr Paitai said.
Ms Paitai's body was also kept from her family for several
days for the investigation.
"They took her away that Sunday night. We didn't get her back
until Wednesday. I had family fly in and they were asking
where she was and I wasn't allowed to say anything."
DHB chief medical officer Dr Gloria Johnson said a
substantial review into the medication error had been
undertaken, and processes had been implemented "to reduce the
potential of this ever happening again".
"At the time, we understood that we had disclosed this error
to the family and we are sorry that they did not feel
adequately informed or supported by our staff," she said.
Rozzana Paitai: Coroner Katharine Greig findings
* Died after suffering a stroke and swelling in her brain due
to a blood clot
* Uncommon condition which is most often associated with
* Had given birth to her second child three weeks earlier
* The extra dose of heparin incorrectly administered to her
two days before she died did not cause her death
* Drug error, due to a nurse misreading the time of Ms
Paitai's blood test results, could have had "potentially
* Hospital staff response to the error was slow
* Death was not an avoidable one
* Middlemore Hospital has reviewed processes for error
recovery which may have resulted in the slow response to the
extra heparin dose
* A new blood test result template has been introduced
showing the date and time in several places
- By Teuila Fuatai of APNZ