Severely ill baby sent away from Buller Hospital due to doctor's card game

  • 21/03/2018
Holden. Photo credit: Givealittle

A Westport family says they were sent away from Buller Hospital after a doctor told them he would not be on call due to a card game.

Lisa Milligan and Bill Sullivan took their son Holden to Buller Hospital in Westport after he became dangerously ill with gastroenteritis, Stuff reports.

Ms Milligan told Stuff she arrived at the hospital at 8:45pm on Wednesday March 14.

Once they arrived Holden was not given fluids until 1pm and continued to get worse in the nine hours the couple waited in the hospital.

Eventually a hospital doctor told them they could not stay overnight and he would not be on call due to a card game.

The couple was then forced to make the 1.5-hour long journey to Westport. By the time they arrived at Grey Base Hospital, Holden was pale and unresponsive.

"I don't think he would have lasted much longer. It was touch and go," Ms Milligan told Stuff.

According to medical notes from the hospital Holden's condition was "imminently life-threatening" when he arrived.

Holden was put on antibiotics, a drip, and eventually a nasal-gastro feeding tube. By Tuesday his condition had improved significantly.

Mr Sullivan and Ms Milligan have now complained to the Health and Disability Commissioner about the incident.

West Coast Health Services general manager Phil Wheble refused to comment on the incident, saying a customer services team member would contact the family about their concern.

He added that Buller Health rarely admits children under the age of 14 for treatment.