An expectant young mother taken to an Adelaide medi-hotel after testing positive for COVID-19 has expressed frustration at what she has described as a lack of support and substandard meals.
SA Health has since apologised to Tyarna Hansen, who is from Ceduna in South Australia’s far west and who was transferred to Adelaide last week.
Ms Hansen is currently four months pregnant and was given the option of being moved to an Adelaide medi-hotel after she was diagnosed as COVID-positive.
“Originally I was going to stay in Ceduna, at home. But then when I had more of a thought into it, I said to myself, ‘No, it’d be better if I do go to Adelaide, because if anything does happen I’m closer to the right support,'” she said.
The First Nations woman was told she would be flown to the city last Tuesday.
But she said vulnerable COVID-19 patients waited at the Ceduna Hospital overnight and did not board a charter flight until Wednesday morning.
Ms Hansen said the meals she received at the medi-hotel, including this one, were cold and unappetising.(Supplied: Tyarna Hansen)
Ms Hansen said there were eight COVID patients on the flight but no nurse, and when the plane touched down at Parafield Airport in Adelaide’s north, patients were left waiting.
“We thought, ‘We are going to Adelaide so we are going somewhere safer,’ but when we arrived [at] Parafield Airport, we sat there for two hours,” she said.
“It was a bit ridiculous actually because I was feeling faint, I was feeling sick.
“We didn’t know what was going on … and it just made a lot of us think we should have stayed home.”
Ms Hansen said she and the other passengers were not fed between boarding the plane at about 9:30am and their arrival at Tom’s Court medi-hotel at 6pm, and the meals since then had been of low quality.
“The food and meals — two meals a day, that’s a bit ridiculous. They’re cold and we have to heat them up,” she said.
“The look of them is just … there’s no presentation in them at all.”
Ms Hansen said there was “no presentation” involved in the meals she was provided.(Supplied: Tyarna Hansen)
She said she was also concerned that health care seemed difficult to access.
“Here, [I’m] getting no support — only two phone calls a day from the nurses asking about symptoms, but nothing to actually check up on me and my baby,” she said.
“I don’t even know if my baby is OK at the moment or if I need that help, because there are no regular check-ups instead of just asking about my symptoms.”
Ms Hansen’s grandmother, Noeleen Cox, said she was extremely worried about her pregnant granddaughter.
“It was a great concern that there was no medical help on that plane,” she said.
“More concern as they were sitting out at Parafield Airport for a number of hours and nobody was there to help them … without water and without food.”
Inside Ms Hansen’s room at the Tom’s Court medi-hotel.(Supplied: Tyarna Hansen)
Ms Cox said she felt “frustration” and “anger”, and “absolute disgust with SA Health on where those support services are”.
In a statement, SA Health said it had apologised to Ms Hansen, and the process of transferring patients had been reviewed.
“Our nursing team were made aware of the issues experienced by Ms Hansen on the day after her arrival,” it said.
“Once aware, the team immediately apologised to Ms Hansen for the delays and discomfort she experienced. The team organised extra supports to be put in place including additional food and water supplies, a prioritised GP referral and additional priority health and wellbeing support if required.
“Circumstances surrounding the transfer process have been reviewed and appropriate processes are being put in place to avoid a similar incident happening again.”
SA Health said it was working to increase the number of Aboriginal health workers at medi-hotels “to improve the experience of Indigenous patients”.