Treatment of typhoid patient

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Auckland DHB Chief Medical Officer Dr Margaret Wilsher says she has reviewed the treatment provided to a female patient who died of typhoid last week in Auckland City Hospital.

“I’m saddened for this family’s loss and extend my condolences. I particularly want to reassure the fanau that she got the very best treatment possible, and that no one who visited her in hospital was at significant risk of infection.”

“She was very unwell when she presented, and it was soon apparent that she had some sort of severe infection on top of pre-existing important medical problems. Despite intensive care she passed away within 24 hours.”

“When it became obvious she was going to die, the team made sure her fanau could gather to be with her and comfort her. A critical care specialist explained that all appropriate treatments had been provided and she was not expected to survive her illness. The cause of the infection, typhoid, only became apparent on blood test as she was dying.”

“The large extended fanau did in fact gather, and were able to comfort the patient in her final hours. Even if the blood result had come back earlier, we would still have allowed the family to be present to hold and support their loved one. Because the patient didn’t have diarrhoea, they were not at significant risk of infection in that setting.” (See risk information here (external link) . )

“The comfort they gave to their dying relative was appropriate, medically supported and, I believe, very necessary for all,” Dr Wilsher said.

Dr Wilsher says the facts of typhoid transmission were explained to the family members present at the bedside following the death of the patient. The necessity of contact tracing by Auckland Public Health Service officers was also covered. More information about this process and the disease is available here. (external link)

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For further information call Auckland District Health Board’s media line: (09) 375 3499.

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