Family demands answers after 80-year-old grandmothers death

Date: Sep 26, 2011

A number of questions have been raised by the family of an 80-year-old grandmother who died after being given the incorrect ID tag at a major public hospital.

Anka Dukich was a dialysis patient who was admitted to Westmead Hospital on June 29 after she attended Norwest Private Hospital for a routine session – the same as she had since she was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease 11 years earlier – and her physician noted she was displaying an elevated heart-rate.

On entering the facility, her family say that she completed her treatment in the acute dialysis department and had settled into the renal department before the mistake was noted.

"I'm a man!" she exclaimed, pointing to the wristband she wore that carried her patient details – only the information displayed was not that of an 80-year-old woman.

Instead, Dukich had been given the allergy notes and ID tags of a 58-year-old man, Kevin Wyatt, who had previously been a patient at the hospital for cancer treatments.

By this stage, her daughters say, she had already been supplied with some medication.

One of her daughters asked their mother if the hospital staff had requested her details when they gave her the incorrect information wristband.

"No," she said, "they didn't ask anything."

Talking to the Sun Herald, Dukich's three daughters – Jelena, Milly and Nada – said that the next day (June 30) she was complaining that she felt something was amiss.

For the first time in hospital, the elderly lady had struggled with sleep and said that she was suffering from nausea.

After spending another day in hospital, Dukich was in a critical condition – the next day the 80-year-old was pronounced dead.

It is unknown at this stage what medication was supplied to the dialysis patient or if it in some way contributed to her death.

Her family say that they were supplied with conflicting reports about their mother's condition and were not told about their options regarding the request for an autopsy or a toxicology report.

After the funeral, her daughters spoke to NSW police and it is undertsood that the Health Care Complaints Commission is now investigating the circumstances surrounding Dukich's treatment before she died.

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