Those behind acid burns to woman's vagina may walk free

THE victim of a horrific medical blunder may have to wait up to two years before an investigation into the incident is complete.

The 21-year-old suffered severe burns after an acid used for her colposcopy, a cervix and vaginal area exam, was mislabelled at five per cent strength instead of 100 per cent.

The Wellington woman suffered severe burns to her vagina after acetic acid provided by Newtown Mall Pharmacy to Wakefield Specialist Centre was wrongly labelled.

The Health and Disability Commissioner (HDC) confirmed an investigation into the error was underway but warned a complex investigation could take up to two years.

The pharmacy sent her a letter of apology - and a $50 fuel voucher, which she described as a "slap in the face".

She has undergone three months of treatment, which has cost her $2000, and will need more treatment in the future.

The woman said the HDC told her the investigation outcome was unlikely to include compensation for her medical fees.

"I won't get my money back but the company would have to have a complete review of their systems," she said. "I am just fighting this now because I am upset that all of this happened. I had to suffer through this and they may get to walk away scot-free. It is so important that they change their systems to avoid this happening to anyone else."

Since receiving the petrol voucher, The patient said Newtown Pharmacy Mall had not contacted her.

Newtown Mall Pharmacy directors Mark Newton and John Phipps said they were not provided with the name of the patient or her contact details at the time and only became aware of the incident after Wakefield Hospital contacted them.

In a statement, they said they were "co-operating fully" with the investigation.

The Commissioner cannot make an order for compensation but can recommend changes to process.

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