New Zealand Hospital Revokes Dying Mother Visit Right, Faces Legal Battle

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In a heartbreaking development, a woman’s right to be with her dying mother has been revoked by the Tauranga Hospital in New Zealand, a circumstance that could result in her arrest should she attempt to visit the ailing matriarch. Tracy Lee, a suicide prevention volunteer holding power of attorney for her mother, is facing this devastating predicament.

At the last stages of her life, Lee’s mother is battling both stage four cancer and vascular dementia. The elderly woman is currently receiving palliative care, possibly only having a few weeks left in her lifetime.

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The desolate situation exacerbated when Lee was served a trespass notice from the hospital by a police officer. This document which has been inspected, threatens her with fines up to $1000 or prison up to three months if violated. “If I return to visit my dying mother I will be arrested on the spot,” she conveyed the grim consequences of the notice.

With her mother in a precarious state, Lee explained her agonizing fear that her mother might meet her end in solitude and immense pain. Speaking to the incident that lead to the notice, it was elucidated that Lee was accused of assault and intimidation of a nurse. This incident occurred when she pleaded for pain relief for her mother. Denying the allegations, Lee termed the assault charge as unfounded.

The law enforcement authorities verified they served the notice, but they also clarified they will not conduct any further investigations and that no charges have been filed against Lee as of yet.

As word about the incident made its rounds on social media, several individuals expressed profound shock and extent of support for Lee’s plight. Suggestions for seeking help from the Health and Disability Commissioner and hopes for her reunion with her mother were shared.

In a fight to overturn the notice, Lee is seeking legal advice, contemplating a shift of her mother’s treatment to another facility as a possible solution. However, this option may not be practical considering her mother’s deteriorating health and heightened pain levels.

Debbie Brown, the senior advisor for governance and quality at Te Whatu Ora Hauora a Toi Bay of Plenty, declined to comment on this individual case but did emphasize that trespass orders were not issued without plausible reasons.

Highlighting that this specific case has been ongoing, Brown mentioned that a meeting with the hospital’s group operations director and a senior governance and quality advisor was offered to the family prior to the incident but was declined. This offer for dialogue still stands.

Meanwhile, at Tauranga Hospital, only 20 trespass orders have been issued in the previous 12 months juxtaposed with the admission of 37,000 patients in the same period. Brown underscored that this decision was made against an increasing backdrop of verbal and physical aggression faced by their frontline staff, putting the wellbeing of their staff and patients at foremost importance.

A representative from the police force confirmed their involvement in serving the trespass notice on behalf of the hospital but insisted that further details should come from the hospital directly.