NZ apologises 40 years after wrong diagnosis

Joan Bellingham, 59, claims she was bullied by a nursing tutor when she was 17 years old because she was a lesbian, NZ’s The Press reports.

The tutor, who has since died, took her to Christchurch’s Princess Margaret Hospital where she was diagnosed with neurotic personality disorder. 

Between 1970 and 1982, she was admitted to hospital 24 times and had about 200 electroconvulsive therapy treatments. 

She was kept highly medicated and was in and out of hospital. In 1973 she was diagnosed as a schizophrenic, a diagnosis maintained until 1982. 

After a 10-year battle, the Crown Health Financing Agency has now offered her an undisclosed settlement and apologised.

“The hospital failed to take care of you in a way that you could have reasonably expected and for this we are genuinely sorry,” said chairman Alastair Scott.

“With this apology... with the fact that they are