Canterbury DHB told to apologise to woman diagnosed with ear infection and migraine when she had suffered strokes

Canterbury DHB have been found to have failed in the care of a woman after she was diagnosed as having an ear infection and migraine when she had in fact suffered two strokes.


A report released today by Health and Disability Commissioner Anthony Hill outlined the incident which led to Canterbury DHB being in breach of the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights (the Code).

In the report it states: "A woman went to the Emergency Department (ED) four times over three days, for worsening neck pain and headache, pulsing noises, vertigo and vomiting.

"At the first three visits she was diagnosed with a severe ear infection and migraine and discharged. The woman said she felt uneasy leaving the hospital and was in persistent pain.

"She was referred to the Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) service at her second and third visits but it was not until her fourth visit to ED that she was reviewed by a senior doctor or given a CT scan, which revealed she had suffered two strokes."

Mr Hill was critical of the DHB's Ear, Nose and Throat service, as well as doctors who treated the woman.

"This case demonstrates the significance of the patient’s voice and the importance of listening to the patient’s experience," he said.

Among other recommendations, Mr Hill recommended the Canterbury DHB apologise to the woman.

The full report for case 17HDC00725 is available on the HDC website.

The report comes as a separate incident looked at by the HDC found  a woman with cardiac issues also received poor treatment from an undisclosed DHB.