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Mum blames hospital after baby made to wait 12 hours for surgery on near-severed finger (Video)

Napier mum Willow Bennett explains why she believes Hawke's Bay Regional Hospital didn't do enough to save the tip of her 11-month old daughter's finger.

A Napier mother says more should have been done by Hawke's Bay Regional Hospital to save the tip of her daughter's finger after it was severed in a freak accident and she was not operated on for 12 hours.

Willow Bennett said the surgeon told her afterwards that if the hospital had rushed her daughter into the operating theatre much sooner, the tip of her finger could have been saved.

But Hawke's Bay District Health Board says Bennett has "misunderstood" and they could not tend to her daughter any quicker because they were dealing with a number of more serious trauma cases.

Willow Bennett and her 11-month old daughter, who lost the tip of her finger after it got caught in a toilet door.

Bennett rushed her 11-month old daughter to Hawke's Bay Regional Hospital last Saturday after the baby's finger got caught in a toilet door.

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Despite the tip of the child's left middle finger only hanging on by a thread of flesh, and her pinky finger being split open, she was not operated on for 12 hours.


Bennett believes the tip of her daughter's finger could have been saved if Hawke's Bay Regional Hospital had acted faster.

Doctors were unable to stitch the top of Bennett's daughter's finger back on, leaving her with one finger cut off below the nail - something Bennett believes was avoidable.

"I had to see my baby go through so much pain, it wasn't on at all," she said.

"The tip of her middle finger was hanging off by a thread and her pinky was split open."

According to Bennett, when they arrived at the Emergency Department just after 9am that day, they waited more than an hour before being assessed.

After medical staff viewed the girl's injuries, Bennett was told an emergency surgery would take place at 1pm in an attempt to save the tip of her finger.

But the 1pm surgery was pushed back throughout the day, meaning her daughter did not go into theatre until 10.15pm.

During that time the baby was unable to eat or drink, and was in pain.

Bennett said the surgeon told her after the operation that if her daughter had been operated on earlier, the tip of her finger would have been salvageable.

Instead, the tip was amputated below the fingernail.

"She [the surgeon] did not understand why two other patients were put before my daughter, as her case was more severe," Bennett said

"The surgeon told me if things had been done differently they could have saved my baby's finger. That made me feel more heartbroken for my baby."

Hawke's Bay Hospital's clinical director of surgical services John Rose said the toddler's clinical notes showed she was triaged by the orthopaedic team as needing surgery within 24 hours upon arrival at ED.

"We would have liked to have been able to get [Bennett's child] into theatre earlier, but a lifesaving emergency caesarean case and a number of serious trauma cases took precedent."

A "misunderstanding" had left Bennett believing more could have been done to save the tip of her daughter's finger, Rose said.

"We are sorry [the child's] mum left hospital with this misunderstanding, and apologise for that. We would be happy to organise a meeting with the surgeon or management to allay her concerns."

Bennett said she would be open to meeting with hospital staff following the incident to talk over her formal complaint.

"[My daughter] may or may not have movement in one of her fingers. The outcome could have been a lot different," she said.




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