Covid-19: Man says he was denied proper medical treatment at MIQ after passing out
Man who is in segregation managed after traveling to the United States to see his dying grandmother says he was denied proper medical treatment after having passed out twice as a result of what he thinks be panic attacks.
But the Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) official stands tall by responding to his medical needs.
Brian De Gregory started his two week stay at the Rydges Hotel in Auckland for 12 days. He had previously applied for an exemption to self-isolate in his Auckland home because he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety in high-rise buildings caused by the fall of the Twin Towers in the terrorist attacks of September 11, but this was refused.
He said being stuck in the heavily guarded hotel reminded him of being trapped in New York City that day 20 years ago.
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De Gregory said he started having panic attacks early in his time at MIQ. Then, over a period of four days, he passed out twice.
He called the nurse on site after each episode, who came to check his vital signs, which were normal.
After hitting his head when he passed out for the second time on Sunday morning, De Gregory requested a further medical evaluation.
A doctor called several hours later and asked her questions during a 15-minute phone consultation.
Due to his blow to the head, De Gregory asked a doctor to physically examine him and asked MIQ management for a face-to-face medical evaluation, but was told that was not possible.
He feared he would pass out again and risk a concussion, and felt his calls had “fallen into a black hole”.
“If I was at home I would have gone to the hospital after the first incident. But I don’t have the right. No one has the right to deny someone medical care when they have requested it.
De Gregory said he tested negative on his Covid-19 tests on days 0 and 3 and had been fully vaccinated since July.
This is not the first time De Gregory has been frustrated with the MIQ system.
The US-born New Zealand citizen provides ‘urgent services’ to one of the country’s largest Covid-19 testing labs, which backed up his request for an emergency room at MIQ as he tried to returning from Los Angeles in August.
However, officials told De Gregory that he can only return for critical work if it is “new” work and his work is not considered critical or essential.
While authorities denied his critical job request, they ultimately granted De Gregory an emergency place at MIQ because he had left New Zealand to visit his grandmother, who was under six. months to live.
He returns to Auckland on September 27.
De Gregory said his experience showed the MIQ system to be “broken”.
Clinical psychologist Jacqui Maguire said research has shown that spending more than 10 days in an MIQ facility can impact people’s mental health and exacerbate anxiety, depression, problems with concentration and other problems. .
Individuals with existing mental health vulnerabilities entering MIQ facilities should have individualized plans in place agreed upon between themselves, their primary care provider, and the ministry on how best to support them before entering the facility. MIQ system, she said.
These plans might include removing their triggers and making sure they have access to factors to improve their well-being, such as fresh air and exercise and work or activities to keep them busy.
For a person whose anxiety has been triggered by high-rise buildings, for example, this could mean placing them in a low-rise MIQ facility.
MIQ Brigadier’s Joint Chief Rose King acknowledged that controlled isolation can be distressing.
She said full-time medical professionals were based at MIQ facilities and returnees could contact them by phone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
People with mental and physical health needs could apply to be isolated elsewhere, including in a hospital or their home, but exemptions were granted in “very limited circumstances”, based on independent medical advice.
King said De Gregory requested an exemption while at Rydges, which was refused because medical staff at the facility believed they could meet his needs and he did not need outpatient treatment .
In addition to being screened on arrival, he underwent two mental health assessments, daily health checks and regular wellness checks, she said.
After De Gregory passed out, he was examined by a nurse in person and referred to a doctor who had two phone conversations with him, King said.
Where to get help:
1737, Need to talk? – Call or text free to 1737 to speak to a qualified advisor
Depression.org.nz – 0800 111 757 or SMS 4202
Safety rope – 0800 543 354
Suicidal crisis helpline – 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)
Children line – 0800 54 37 54 for people up to 18 years old. Open 24/7.
Rural support trust – 0800 787 254
Samaritans – 0800 726 666
What’s new – 0800 942 8787 (for 5-18 year olds). Telephone consultation available Monday to Friday, from noon to 11 p.m. and on weekends, from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. The online chat is available every day from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m.
thelowdown.co.nz – Web chat, email chat or free text 5626
Anxiety New Zealand – 0800 ANXIETY (0800 269 4389)
Support families with mental illness – 0800 732 825.