16 Feb 2012

Hospital staff need to communicate better - coroner

1:09 pm on 16 February 2012

Wellington coroner Ian Smith says cases involving medical staff who are not communicating well with patients' families are becoming common, especially when the patients are elderly.

Mr Smith has found Paul Englebert Lins, 82, died of heart failure three days after being admitted to Wellington hospital in October 2009.

Mr Lins's son, Peter Paul Lins, said he became concerned when he was not able to get enough information about a change made to his father's medication at the hospital.

One of the doctors involved in the case, Robyn Toomath, provided a statement apologising for the distress caused to the family, acknowledging the hospital needs to work harder to ensure families have an understanding of treatment plans.

Mr Smith says Mr Lins received adequate treatment, but hospital staff do need to communicate better with family members.