Woman’s scary find in hospital meal
A Munno Para woman is vowing never to return to the Lyell McEwin Hospital after she says she was served a meal with a piece of broken glass in it.
Patricia Smith, 73, and the Opposition are now calling on the State Government to investigate the matter amid fears other meals may also be contaminated, putting patient safety in jeopardy.
Ms Smith said she was served curry chicken with rice and vegetables on the evening of April 27 in the cardiac ward of the hospital.
While she described the meal as being tasteless, overcooked and dry, it wasn't until she bit into a piece of chicken that things took a dangerous turn.
"As I put it in (my) mouth, I had this lump in my mouth and I spat it out and it was a piece of glass," Ms Smith said.
"It wasn't a slither of glass. It wasn't a small piece of glass. It was a decent sized piece of glass."
Ms Smith said she was "in shock" when she realised what had been in her meal and her mouth.
"It was in a hospital - I shouldn't have had glass in my meal," she said.
Distressed after the safety scare, Ms Smith told staff at the hospital but said no action was taken to ensure other meals were not contaminated.
She said the catering manager told her the dinner was among 50 of its type served that evening.
"I said 'did you recall them? (He said) 'No I didn't see the need to recall them. I've never had this happen before'," Ms Smith said.
"(I said) 'there's 49 meals out there, 49 potential deaths!'."
Ms Smith, who has cancelled a future appointment at the hospital because she refuses to return, said other patients should "bring your own meals" to the Lyell McEwin.
Opposition health spokesman Chris Picton called on Health Minister Stephen Wade to immediately investigate the incident to ensure there was no further risk to patient safety.
"We want to make sure that the meals provided to patients are safe (and) are of high quality," he said.
"Obviously that should be the case when anybody is getting a meal but particularly hospital patients."
Mr Picton said the incident showed there were "clearly failures of quality control of the meals...at the Lyell McEwin".
"The risk was that other patients on the ward or in the hospital that night could have been fed the same meals with potentially glass in them as well," he said.
Mr Picton also said the Government was planning to cut about $4.5 million a year from SA Health's catering and cleaning budget, which would impact various hospitals including the Lyell McEwin.
"If they can't provide safe meals to patients now, how much worse will they be when $4.5 million per year is cut?" he said.
SA Health and Health Minister Stephen Wade have been contacted for comment.