Desire to see change after ED experience

Saeed Rahimi is unhappy about an eight-hour wait at Dunedin Hospital’s emergency department after...
Saeed Rahimi is unhappy about an eight-hour wait at Dunedin Hospital’s emergency department after he broke three ribs while playing football. Photo: Gregor Richardson
A Dunedin man who spent eight hours in the Dunedin Hospital emergency department wants to see change in how patients are treated.

A letter from Te Whatu Ora Health New Zealand (HNZ) has acknowledged Dunedin resident Saeed Rahimi’s treatment was "below acceptable standards of care", although it did not apologise for calling security staff after he filmed empty chairs in the waiting room out of frustration.

Mr Rahimi said while he was heartened his long wait was recognised, he did not feel his case had been fully investigated and did not want anyone else to go through the same thing.

Mr Rahimi was injured in a motorcycle accident in Thailand in July and suffered several broken ribs, a dislocated shoulder and a minor concussion.

He thought he had recovered until he was playing football while camping with friends on October 17.

Physical contact occurred which resulted in severe chest pain and trouble breathing.

He cut his trip short, and went straight to Dunedin Hospital, stopping only to change clothes and shower.

When he arrived at the emergency department about 8pm he was given painkillers and asked to sit and wait.

He told staff he was in pain about 2am, and was taken to the next room to wait.

About 2.30am he complained of pain again and staff told him they were having trouble contacting the X-ray team, Mr Rahimi said.

He waited another half an hour before he decided to go home, Mr Rahimi said.

"I could honestly not sit any more."

He made a sarcastic remark to staff and took a video of the empty chairs in waiting room, which lasted about 10 seconds, he said.

Security was called and arrived almost immediately, which he felt was an overreaction.

While he was frustrated and in pain, he was not angry, Mr Rahimi said.

"It’s hell with one broken rib, let alone with three," he said.

It took him about four days to get a private X-ray at Mercy Hospital.

He did not blame staff at the emergency department, but rather the wider health system.

"I just want to see them actually make change," Mr Rahimi said.

HNZ Southern communications team leader Kate Mackersy said the organisation would not comment on individual patients and their care for privacy reasons, despite Mr Rahimi being prepared to waive this.

She acknowledged the emergency department had been very busy lately and staff were working hard to prioritise all care appropriately.

"Te Whatu Ora Southern does not turn anyone away who is seeking medical help," Ms Mackersy said.