Ministry rejects claims of hospital delays after man dies following nurse’s assessment

    A 58-year-old man in Vavaʻu died on Monday shortly after he was assessed by a nurse.

    A Health Ministry spokesman said the man died at 10.30am, half an hour after he was triaged.

    The nurse considered the deceased’s condition was not urgent, so she asked him to wait in the waiting room until he could be seen by the doctor.

    He was also told that if he felt unwell he could call the nurses.

    The man died in his vehicle 30 minutes later.

    The Ministry spokesperson did not identify the cause of the man’s death.

    However, he said the man had a heart disease and his last visit to the hospital in Vava’u was in 2015.

    An inquiry by the Vava’u health authority may include an interview with a church minister who was sitting with the deceased at the waiting room after his triage.

    The church minister claimed the dead man told him he wanted to go and rest in his vehicle.

    A person who was apparently with the man when he died alerted the authorities.

    The Ministry vehemently denied claims by Tongan groups on Facebook which repeated stories from news outlets saying the dead man waited at the hospital for several hours before he died.

    The spokesperson said Vava’u hospital denied claims the staff at the hospital called out the names of patients to whom they were related, rather than in order of arrival.

    The spokesperson said the reports on Facebook were unbalanced and the hospital had not been contacted to get their side of the story.

    “It does not make sense and I can’t believe this could have happened,” he said.

    He said it was typical of people to say whatever they wanted on Facebook no matter whether it was true or not.

    Some critics of the Facebook posts described the reports as one sided, but some group administrators said they trusted the people they talked to, although they did not name their sources.

    The main points

    • A 58-year-old man in Vavaʻu died on Monday shortly after he was assessed by a nurse.
    • A Health Ministry spokesman said the man died at 10.30am, half an hour after he was triaged.
    • The nurse considered the deceased’s condition was not urgent so she asked him to wait in the waiting room until he could be seen by the doctor.
    • For more information.
    • The Ministry vehemently denied claims by Tongan groups on Facebook which repeated stories from news outlets saying the dead man waited at the hospital for several hours before he died.

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