‘Negligent doctors killed my grandson’

Thandeka Moyo  Court Reporter
A BULAWAYO woman yesterday told an inquest that negligent doctors at Mpilo Central Hospital caused the death of her three-weeks old grandson.Speaking during the ongoing inquest on the death of Perez Simbarashe Murozvi, Ruth Busumani said medical staff at the hospital left an elastic band on the three weeks-old baby’s arm which necessitated an amputation.

She added that three hours after the operation, the staff notified the family that there was no blood for transfusion, leading to the baby’s death.

“My grandson died due to negligence and we weren’t allowed to even approach the doctors for an explanation. They had the guts to operate on my grandson knowing there was no blood and they only did a blood transfusion three hours after the operation,” said Busumani yesterday before the coroner, Gladmore Mushove.

She said the baby vomited blood for hours as nurses kept assuring her and the baby’s parents that it was normal and their child was doing fine.

“I watched as my grandson bled from the  mouth and I think his arteries had already collapsed since he only got blood hours after his amputation. I believe doctors were very careless and that if it wasn’t for their negligence, my grandson would be alive,” she added.

She alleged that doctors took turns to attend to the baby whose situation deteriorated and at one point nurses removed a tube which they had failed to insert in his body.

“When they noticed that blood was oozing out of his mouth, they took off the tube and failed to put it back till a doctor came and they still reassured the family that the baby would make it,” she said.

Mushove said the inquest would continue on February, 23, when Mpilo Central Hospital medical staff is expected to testify.

Testifying during the inquest’s first day last month, the boy’s father Simbarashe Murozvi told the court that after the elastic band error, medical personnel recommended the amputation of his son’s arm to save his life.

“My son fell sick on 22 May last year and we took him to Mpilo Hospital. Upon getting to the hospital, he was treated and discharged. A day later, we took him back to hospital as there was no improvement in his condition and he was admitted,” said Murozvi.

He said the baby was moved to the Intensive Care Unit the following day.“I met the doctors who told me that the child was dehydrated but was going to be well as his condition wasn’t that bad. They said he had to be put on a drip. They also conducted a number of tests and they eventually told us that his kidneys weren’t functioning,” he added.

Murozvi, who is a police officer, said when his child was admitted to the institution he was crying, refusing to breastfeed and not urinating.

“When I went back to the hospital I was told that he was now urinating and we were elated that the condition of the child was improving,” he said.

He said when he visited the hospital on May 25, his wife came to him in a panic saying “doctors have injured the child”.

“We rushed to the ICU to assess the condition of the child. His hand had turned black in colour and we asked doctors that were present to tell us what had happened to the child but none were forthcoming,” he said.

He said they approached a hospital official Martson Sithole who explained that one of the doctors forgot to remove an elastic band on the child’s arm in search of veins as he wanted to put a drip.

“Sithole explained that the condition of the child was that the blood cells on the arm were no longer functioning from where the elastic band was and the only solution was to have it amputated. In anger, I asked one doctor why the child had to be amputated when he had been admitted in a better condition,” said the visibly hurt father.

He said the Clinical Director, Dr Wedu Ndebele then called them to his office to explain why it was important to have the arm amputated.
Murozvi said Dr Ndebele told them that if the arm was not amputated the gangrene would move up and further affect the child’s lungs.

“We signed the papers for an amputation to be conducted on the same day but the operation was only done two days later on the 27th. After the operation he was taken back to ICU but it took him time to regain consciousness,” said Murozvi.

After the operation, the baby, who had lost a lot of blood, reportedly failed to get a transfusion on time and when he finally got blood, his body is said to have rejected it.

“As blood was being transfused I noticed that some blood was oozing from his nose and mouth and the doctors said that he was bleeding from the lungs,” the father added.

He said they were summoned to the ICU the following day and were told that their son had died.

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  • lockman

    This is a heart rending story that brings tears to the eyes of even the strongest of people. It is cases such as this, about negligent actions regarding health practitioners, that drive the poor to despair and the rich to seek treatment abroad. Incidences of negligence and ill treatment of patients at government run health institutions may, in many cases be blamed on the lack of incentives and competency compliance screening, as well as disciplinary measures that are standard requirements at privately owned institutions. Because of my meager knowledge on collective matters of health, the advice I could offer in such matters are very limited save perhaps, to plead with the relevant authorities to seriously address the issue before more lives are so carelessly lost.

  • theza

    I once rushed a patient to a certain hospital (private) and was attended by a doctor but the patient got worse after being attended, I later learnt that it was due to the wrong treatment that had been administered, this was said by a senior doctor who had taken over. At times we encounter such unfortunate incidences lucky enough in my case the patient recovered