Covid test without consent
A Gisborne mother remains angry her six-year-old son was given a Covid-19 test without her consent.
The mum, who did not want to be named, said in June her son was sick with a cold and a sore throat.
She had a consultation over the phone with a doctor at Three Rivers.
They organised for her son to have a throat swab for strep throat but it had to be done through the hospital as they were dealing with all respiratory issues there because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
A couple of days later she took her son to the arranged hospital appointment.
The mum had her three other children with her and was told they could not all go to the appointment.
She said she was asked if it would be OK if they took her son for the swab.
She said it was.
“A few minutes later my son stormed out really angry,” she told The Gisborne Herald.
“They said to me he might be a bit uncomfortable with the testing up the nose.
“I was in shock. I had no idea they would do a Covid test on him. I was told it was just a throat swab for strep throat.
“I had a Covid test through work and they’re horrible, invasive and painful.”
Not only was she horrified at not being asked for consent, or given the opportunity to be with her son, she questioned why they did the “up-the-nose” test when there was a far less intrusive way to test for Covid-19 — through a throat swab.
She knows this because last week her son got sick again.
“They tested him in the cabins at Three Rivers, with two swabs done at the same time — one for Covid, one for strep.
“The doctor stated he would do a Covid throat swab because they aren’t as invasive and painful for a small child.
“If it had been up the nose I would have said no.”
Both Covid tests were negative.
“If I had been with him in June I would have made sure it wasn’t up the nose.
“Just because we have Covid you can’t test small children without authority from the parents. And parents should be able to be there with their children.”
Hauora Tairawhiti confirmed consent was required from a parent before a child was tested for Covid-19.
Hauora Tairawhiti’s Medical Officer of Health Dr Osman Mansoor said by bringing a child in to be tested there was an implication that testing had been consented.
“By arranging testing for the child at Gisborne Hospital, it was implied that a Covid-19 naso-pharyngeal swab was being requested by the GP.
“As part of our surveillance to pick up any silent spread of the virus, anyone with a sore throat is recommended to have a test for Covid-19.
“If your GP has recommended you get tested, it’s important to do so without delay to provide the best chance of preventing virus spread.”
Mr Mansoor said a throat swab was less effective . . . “especially early in any disease process”.
“The naso-pharyngeal swab does produce short-term discomfort but so does a throat swab in order to get a sufficient sample to test for Covid-19.
“The period of discomfort is short-lived and, like many testing procedures in health, is necessary in order to make a diagnosis that will help with care of the individual, protect families and the wider community.
“Please get tested when you are asked.”