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Aitutaki Covid-19 related death not TMO’s fault: PM

Monday 2 May 2022 | Written by Caleb Fotheringham | Published in Health, National

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Aitutaki Covid-19 related death not TMO’s fault: PM
Aitutaki's One Foot Island. PHOTO: COOK ISLANDS TOURISM.

Cook Islands first Covid-19 related death was not a failure of Te Marae Ora (TMO) says Prime Minister Mark Brown.

A 63-year old women with underlying health conditions died enroute to the hospital on the island of Aitutaki just before midnight on April 22. It was the first Covid-19 related death in the Cook Islands.

A statement by Brown made on April 23 said: “She had had all three anti-Covid vaccinations, but also had several serious underlying health conditions.

“The deceased had been sick for three days at home and had declined to see a doctor or go to the hospital until the family made an emergency call to Aitutaki hospital just before midnight last night.

“The woman stopped breathing in the ambulance enroute to the hospital and was unable to be revived.”

Speaking to Cook Islands News on Friday Brown said: “I think everything about Covid so far just shouts what a hugely successful programme that we’ve run to manage Covid-19, it’s unfortunate that we had the death of this lady but as pointed out she left seeking attention for her conditions until it was too late.

“I’m sure if she had seen the doctors or called for help earlier we may have been able to prevent her death with the medication that we have, but I think TMO is doing everything possible and are doing a fantastic job to date.”

Brown said TMO was monitoring her because she had underlying health conditions but she was a person who did not want to see a doctor.

“She had an aversion to hospitals and doctors from what I was told, so it was a case of leaving it too late when family had called for help and assistance but they were unable to revive her when they got her.

“It was an unfortunate case, we do have some people that do have either a faith of not going to doctors or not receiving medical treatments, that complicates matters, but without talking too much more on patient confidentiality, this was the issue in this particular case unfortunately.”

As of Friday the Cook Islands has 41 new Covid-19 cases and has 297 active cases. The country has a total of 5,031 cases.