Hywel Dda’s health board said it was reviewing its policy after a Pembrokeshire Covid patient was discharged from hospital in a taxi with a driver who was unaware she had the virus.
Naomi Grant was rushed to A&E last month when she fell seriously ill with Covid and a lung infection.
She says her stay was traumatic; she was given medication to which she was allergic and spent hours throwing up. She also says that medical staff also came to see her without full PPE, not having been informed of her Covid status.
Naomi wanted to stay in the hospital; she was coughing up red and black phlegm, she has had two cases of pneumonia in the past and is disabled without a stairlift at home.
However, she was released at 1:30 am but had no way to get home, so hospital staff called a taxi for her.
She says that initially hospital staff told her that it was not necessary for them to tell the driver that she had Covid because it was “confidential”.
âMy response was ‘what if he’s old or vulnerable or his family gets sick,’ I told them they had to let the taxi driver know the real situation because I didn’t want to get in. his taxi if he didn’t know, “NoÃ©mi said.
She says she was then led to believe the driver had been made aware that she had the Covid. However, as she was traveling in the taxi, she checked this with the driver, who said he had not been notified.
âI am really shocked and disgusted with the way I was treated and the way myself and the poor taxi driver were cheated,â Naomi said.
âI just hope they haven’t sent a lot of covid patients home on public transport. It’s no wonder it’s spreading so fast. If you can’t trust the doctors, who can you trust? ”
Naomi was then diagnosed with Covid pneumonia, but not before her daughter managed to collect her notes from the hospital and have them sent to her GP.
She added that she was still very ill and had low blood oxygen levels, but was afraid to return to the hospital after her experience.
Mandy Rayani, director of nursing, quality and patient experience at Hywel Dda University board of health, said there had been a “communication breakdown” and the trust was reviewing its policies .
“In the event that a patient, confirmed or not with Covid-19, does not need to be hospitalized but needs an essential return trip and has no other way to get there, our staff can put him in touch with a local taxi company.
âIt is intended, and we call on all companies, to ensure that they follow the guidelines set out by the Welsh government and that they themselves have assessed the risks of the situation.
âIn this incident, it appears there was a communication breakdown. Accordingly, we are now reviewing the situation and developing guidance with our local public health team, local authorities and transport providers, to confirm a process for the rare circumstance of essential return travel for a Covid-positive patient- 19.
âOur emergency department staff work in high pressure environments, but they make decisions and provide support in the best interests of their patients. ”
Hywel Dda also said she encouraged Naomi to speak about her experience to her patient support services team.