A district health board has apologised to the friends and family of a woman for weeks of delays in her treatment and prognosis which extended her suffering.
The acting Health and Disability Commissioner says the Wairarapa DHB's response to a complaint about the issues was insincere and trite.
The 79-year-old woman, identified only as Mrs A, was seen at Wairarapa Hospital's emergency department in September 2008 suffering from urinary retention.
The following day she was referred to the DHB's urology service by her GP.
She returned to the emergency department seven times in October, and though futher referrals were made, it was not until a complaint from Mrs A's friend was made that she was finally seen by a specialist.
Following further tests, Mrs A was diagnosed with an aggressive and advanced bladder cancer.
Her friend received a response to his complaint on 20 March 2009, and Mrs A died shortly after.
The DHB has apologised in writing and its chief executive has offered to apologise in person.