As some of you may be aware I live in the Bay of Islands, I travel widely within the region and come into contact with all manner of people. Tonights post is about a lady I have met.
Mary is in her mid 70's, she is a widow and lives in Kaikohe. Mary is sick, she has all the usual symptoms of a person with heart problems, tightness in her chest, breathless and lacking any energy at all. She has a home help that pops in and a variety of other people in her life that help her get things done. Over the nine months or so that I have known her I have noticed a marked deterioration in her health and mental state. She is on multiple pills, multiple times a day and the jolly Mary I met has deteriorated into a frightened husk.
Her GP is trying to manage the situation and sent her to Whangerai to see a specialist, this took 2 months. She saw the specialist who told her she needed to be booked in for a scan. It took 3 months to get the appointment for the scan. She had the scan last week and it turns out she needs a bypass.
Whangerai don't do these so she is now on a waiting list to see a specialist in Auckland, this is expected to take another 3 months, once she has seen the specialist in Auckland she will wait another 3 months for the necessary scans to be done again. If they confirm what everybody already knows she will then go on the waiting list for a bypass operation, the waiting list is currently around 9 months.
All up that is 20 months. Mary will die before she ever gets on the operating table, and she knows it. I had a cuppa with her today and she has shrunk in a week. She has effectively been sentenced to death by our public health system.
The rational among us might say she has had a good and long life and we cannot fix everybody.
To them I would say, come up to Kaikohe and have a cuppa with Mary and tell her that her life is unimportant and she is not worth saving.
Billions of extra funding in a decade and we still cannot get the basics right.
Another friend of mine had a bypass operation in Auckland three weeks ago, 12 days after seeing the private specialist that his doctor referred him to. He has Southern Cross. The hospital he was in was half empty and apparently has extra capacity just waiting to be switched on when our new government decides to utilise all means to beat our waiting lists.
I really hope they do it soon because my friend is going to die