Terror victims’ bogus doctor hospital scare

A woman impersonating a doctor trying to access March 15 terror attack victims has forced additional security measures to be put in place at Christchurch Hospital.

Canterbury District Health Board and police are working together after concerns were raised about the woman last week.

Said CDHB chief medical officer Sue Nightingale yesterday: “We have implemented additional security measures and police were notified last week. Our prime concern is to protect the health, well-being and privacy of our patients. Our investigations are ongoing.”

The CDHB and police would not answer further questions from The Star.

However, The Star has learned hospital staff have been told who the woman is.

She is allowed to be on hospital grounds, but if she is seen acting suspiciously and if she is not there for her own health reasons the police were to be called.

The woman helped the Muslim community after the attacks. She has also claimed to be a victim support worker.

Muslim Association of Canterbury president Shagaf Khan said his office had made aware of the woman’s behaviour.

Mr Khan said he knew the woman, who he had met at the hospital following the attacks, in which 51 people died after a gunman opened fire at Al Noor Mosque and the Linwood Islamic Centre.

“She introduced herself and said she was a Muslim . . . no one knows her in the Muslim community but if someone says they are Muslim, we don’t suspect on that,” he said.

“Basically she was working from day one as a volunteer trying to help out wherever she could. I met her in the hospital after a few weeks and she was there, helping one of the families. She seemed all right at that time.”

Mr Khan said the woman told him she had been “working on her own for a long time” and every time she went to the hospital, someone would ask her what organisation she represented.

“She seemed very disappointed. I told her our work hadn’t been that organised, so we took her as part of our volunteer team and then later we found out she was a bit of a problem.”

Mr Khan said because of the enormity of the March 15 attack, many people were needed to provide support.

“There were a lot of people helping us in this time of panic and chaos and we were just co-ordinating with them.”

The woman is no longer volunteering for the association since they were alerted she “wasn’t behaving properly,” Mr Khan said.

He wasn’t sure about the specifics of what the problems or her behaviour was.

“It is a very sensitive time, victim support can’t keep up. Because the sensitivity is so high, any small thing can hurt the families . . . we do sometimes have people get upset over small things and we do apologise for that, we didn’t intend to mean any harm,” he said.