Getting a lump-sum payment from DHB after misfiled CT scan
The Ombudsman helped the partner of a patient whose CT scan had been misfiled get a lump-sum payment of $10,000 from a DHB.
The patient, who wasn't aware they had asbestosis, had a CT scan at a hospital. In the scan’s notes, the radiologist wrote that they had previously been exposed to asbestos. However, the CT scan with accompanying notes was misfiled and the diagnosis of asbestosis wasn't confirmed until after the patient had died.
The patient’s partner asked the hospital's District Health Board (DHB) for compensation, claiming that the DHB’s misfiling of the scan meant they were unable to ask for any lump sum compensation from ACC before his death. The DHB did not agree and refused to offer compensation. The patient’s partner then complained to the Ombudsman.
The Ombudsman concluded the evidence showed that the misfiled CT scan meant the people caring for the patient didn't have important information, and so hadn't initiated an ACC lump sum claim while they were alive. As a result, their family weren't able to receive the payment after he died.
The Ombudsman decided it was unreasonable for the DHB not to accept there was a lost opportunity for the family because of the mistake. They suggested the DHB offer the patient's partner a payment of $10,000, which the DHB agreed to.