Investigation launched after patient dies after leaving Christchurch Hospital's emergency department

An investigation has been launched after a patient died after leaving a Canterbury emergency department.

Chief medical officer Te Whatu Ora Waitaha Canterbury Richard French confirmed to Newshub in a statement a patient who presented to Christchurch Hospital's emergency department (ED) last Sunday evening later died in the intensive care unit.

Local news outlet Chris Lynch Media reported the patient was sent to the waiting room after being triaged by a nurse, and sometime after collapsed. They reportedly died due to sepsis.

French said the patient left ED and shortly after their condition "deteriorated" and they returned to the ED where they were seen immediately.

Sadly, the patient did not respond to medical treatment and died the following day, French said.

A formal review of the care provided to this person is underway.

"We acknowledge our ED was very busy during this period which meant wait times were longer than usual," French said. "Our heartfelt sympathies remain with the whānau at this difficult time."

Overrun emergency departments have been facing significant pressure to plug staffing holes.

Earlier this week, Te Whatu Ora data released data to Newshub showing some regions are short 50 nurses in emergency departments alone. In Canterbury, the data showed it was 12 ED nurses short.

In September, Newshub revealed every month thousands of people are choosing to leave emergency departments instead of waiting for treatment, whilst the number of patients waiting more than 24 hours in an emergency department is soaring. 

In August, patients were forced to wait up to seven hours in Christchurch Hospital's ED as it struggled with demand.