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Covid test without consent

‘I was told it was just a throat swab for strep throat’: mother

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.

' . . . I would have made sure it wasn’t up the nose'

“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.”

Diagram of a coronavirus nasal swab test.

Leave a Reply to Ngareta Campion, Nelson Cancel reply

  1. K Thompson says:

    So, now we are sure of two obvious facts, 1) Your child does not have Covid-19 and 2) He is sure to grow up as a mummy’s baby. The only trauma your child experienced is seeing your millennium attitude and overprotective attention-seeking. Many people in the world have not had the opportunity to be tested so you should be thankful, not precious. The other fact that astounds me is that this story made page 3 of our paper. Surely the headline should have been “Parent whines about life-saving test”.

    1. Jack Marshall, Auckland says:

      Do you really need to be a dick about it? Chill, a mother cares for her child.

      1. Stacy says:

        There’s a big difference between caring and being a helicopter parent, lmao.

    2. Jack Marshall says:

      K. Thompson, you’re an absolute Muppet.

    3. Caroline says:

      Her child, her choice . . .

    4. G Munro says:

      Would you enjoy watching your child (if you’ve got one) have a Covid tester pushed up his or her nostril without consent?
      I surely don’t agree. I think you’re more of a muppet.

      1. P. KERR says:

        I don’t think anyone would ‘enjoy’ being tested, or watching their kid – BUT surely you must know the throat swabs are not as effective, hence why they don’t offer them as it’s usually a waste of time. My kids have had their strep tested by nose in the past. I’d blame your GP if that’s really what they said.
        Yeah, they’ll cry a little, but it’s necessary and easier to make them understand why – otherwise they’ll learn to avoid because of lesser pain and that may cause bigger issues later.

    5. Philip Matete says:

      You just don’t get the point do you? You don’t do shit to someone without consent, especially something painful on a child.

  2. Susan Taitoko says:

    I had the nose thingee and was so surprised – it was just a few seconds of discomfort. My eyes did cry but it was fine.
    Still wrong to test a child without consent though.

  3. Anonymous says:

    The issue, in my opinion, isn’t just around the discomfort – but the testing without consent. It may be just a little test, but it is the principle. There is no way I would be happy for anything to be done on my child without consent. Legally it is wrong. The mother has every right to be upset. It’s as simple as that.

    1. Ngareta Campion, Nelson says:

      Absolutely agree. I think some in this discussion are missing the point – it’s about ‘parental consent’. That wasn’t given and I would be angry about it too.

  4. Harata says:

    Patients/caregivers should be warned prior, that only one support person is allowed for child under XXX years old.

    No consent was given – so that is an infringement of parental rights.

    Although I can see what the hospital staff are saying, the decent thing would have simply been to apologise for the miscommunication.

    Because proper protocols were not followed, the mother has the right to scream from the tallest building (which could possibly be a court of law)… that is a parents right (millennial or not).