Waitaki District Health Services


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MEDIA RELEASE - Public Apology to the Talanoa Family - 15th Nov 2023

Public apology to the Talanoa family for shortcomings at Oamaru Hospital

In August 2023 the Health and Disability Commission (HDC) published a report relating to the care provided to 13-month-old baby at Oamaru Hospital in 2019 and the process in place for the transfer of the critically ill baby.  That report identified a number of shortcomings in the care provided in terms of the hospital’s oversight and processes around the care given, the state and provision of equipment needed, and also in respect to the treatment delivered by a doctor and two nurses.

Waitaki District Health Services (WDHS) have met with and unreservedly apologised to the Talanoa family in respect to the treatment provided to their baby at Oamaru Hospital.  “Our hearts go out to the parents and wider family for the distress caused; this is a truly awful situation for which we offer our sincere condolences”, said Keith Marshall, Chief Executive of WDHS. 

Today Oamaru Hospital also offers this public apology to the Talanoa family for the shortcomings both in care provided to their baby, and in the lack of support provided to the Talanoa Family following the tragedy.  

“The baby’s illness was clearly an extremely serious one with a high mortality, as was identified in the HDC report.   As an organisation we are heartbroken that more should have been done and the HDC report made very clear what the shortcomings at Oamaru Hospital were.”

Waitaki District Health Services fully accepts the HDC’s findings. Since this incident in 2019 Oamaru Hospital has made numerous changes to their clinical practices and processes and has put in place all of the HDC’s recommendations.  

“For our part, WDHSL was also heartened by the HDC’s further recommendation to Te Whatu Ora to investigate the establishment of a National Transfer Desk around urgent care matters; this would make a big difference for patient care in rural hospitals, and elsewhere, and would likely have had an impact in this tragic situation also.”

15th November 2023

[ ENDS – no further comment will be made by the hospital ]

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