Woman gets life-saving surgery after having to wait 13 weeks

Nicole Bremner
Source: 1News

A Hawke's Bay patient is relieved to have had life-saving surgery after 13 anxious weeks of waiting when she had expected to only wait a month.

It's the second time Fran McHale has required surgery to remove a growth in her throat that reduces her air intake as it grows.

The 57-year-old was rushed to hospital and underwent emergency surgery when the first growth overwhelmed her airway in 2018.

She underwent an emergency tracheotomy and spent an extended time in ICU due to the complications.

As a result, McHale endured an anxious 13-week wait for the operation.

The Government has signalled there will be more funding for health in Thursday’s Budget and has recently appointed a task force to address waiting lists nationwide that have ballooned due to Covid-19.

Dr Andrew Connolly is leading the task force but unsure of the Government’s plan for the extra health spending.

“I’m obviously not privy to any budget information,” Connolly said.

“But I’m optimistic that further investment in health means we can deliver significant health benefits to New Zealanders but these things take time."

When the Government established the task force on May 4, Health Minister Andrew Little said the latest figures showed nearly 36,000 New Zealanders had been waiting longer than four months to have their first appointment with a specialist.

Little said the number of people waiting longer than four months for treatment had nearly trebled from just over 8000 in February 2020 to nearly 27,000 in 2022.

While it appears a reduction in surgical waiting times will not be delivered in the short term – McHale is relieved her surgery was successful and she can now breathe easy.