Saturday, April 4, 2009

Parents dread outcome of doctors' departure

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By STACEY WOOD - The Dominion Post
Last updated 05:00 04/04/2009

Mothers of child cancer patients at Wellington Hospital dread the prospect of travelling to Christchurch or Auckland to get treatment for their children.

Palmerston North mother Nikki Christian already travels to Wellington with son Brayden, 7, once a week for chemotherapy treatments.

They have no friends or family in Christchurch and, while Mrs Christian's mother-in-law lives in Auckland, the inconvenience of travelling would be huge. "It raises so many questions.

"Where are we going to go? Do we have a choice? Do we drive or fly?"

Brayden has suffered from car-sickness since starting his chemotherapy and the added travel would cause him more discomfort.

Olivia Utting, whose son Elijah Utting-Parker, 4, has leukaemia, said she was "really scared" that the departure of the two paediatric oncologists would leave an unacceptable gap in expertise at the hospital. "These two doctors are incredibly qualified and the fact we got them here was so fortunate.

"[The DHB] said they've gone out of their way to keep them but I simply do not believe it."

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