Patrick Chitumba, Midlands Bureau Chief
A LEADING private health institution in Gweru and a medical practitioner face prosecution following the death of a woman during delivery.
A coroner has ruled that Claybank Hospital and Dr Laiza Chuma Mutinhiri negligently caused the death of Dina Robson Marufu, 31, on August 12, 2014.
Marufu suffered four heart attacks before dying after excessive bleeding.
In her findings at the end of an inquest into the cause of the death, Provincial Magistrate Phathekile Msipa – sitting as the coroner – said the hospital and the delivering doctor were negligent in their handling of the delivery.
She recommended that the National Prosecuting Authority investigate the hospital and Dr Mutinhiri’s conduct.
Marufu booked into the hospital on August 11, 2014 to prepare for delivery through caesarean section.
The following morning she delivered a healthy baby girl around 10AM but died around 3PM after suffering four cardiac arrests due to excessive bleeding.
The court heard that even removing her uterus failed to stop the bleeding and the hospital did not have blood for a transfusion to save her life.
Msipa said the hospital should have been well equipped with blood for Marufu since the delivery had been planned.
She said Dr Mutinhiri, who was Marufu’s doctor, should have prepared adequately for the operation beforehand.
“Dr Jossiah Tayi giving evidence said chances of excessive bleeding in women who would have given birth through the caesarean section before were very high. So Dr Mutinhiri should have known that since Marufu was her client,” Msipa said.
“The hospital operations manager told the court that they didn’t have refrigerators for stocking blood but one of the doctors who testified said the hospital should store blood. So I find that the hospital was negligent as it failed to offer that basic service.
“There is clear negligence on the part of the hospital and I recommend that the National Prosecuting Authority investigate the hospital and the conduct of the doctors who delivered the baby”.
Tafadzwa Marufu, the husband to the deceased, told the court how he agonisingly saw five doctors walking in and out of the delivery room to operate on his wife.
“The following day around 7AM, I visited her and found her in high spirits waiting to be taken to the delivery room. The nurses told me to return around 10 AM.
“This was her third pregnancy. The last two she had delivered through operations. When I returned at 10AM they said the baby was fine but my wife had suffered complications,” he said.
“Dr Mutinhiri later told me that my wife had developed a problem and she died around 3PM.”
Dr Mutinhiri said: “On August 12 Marufu delivered a baby girl but started bleeding leading to a cardiac arrest. We didn’t have blood since the National Blood Transfusion Service was closed. We then planned to refer her to Mater Dei hospital but she suffered a fourth cardiac arrest in the ambulance and she died”.
Dr Tayi said he was called to the hospital and assisted other doctors to remove Marufu’s uterus which was the source of the bleeding.
“It was prudent for the hospital to have blood for the patient since it has maternity services. Blood should have been on standby. If she had been given blood, her life could have been saved,” he said.
Dr Gamuchirai Chikwaira, the hospital operations manager, said they did not have refrigerators to store blood at the hospital.
She said it normally took the institution 30-40minutes to get blood from NBTS but on that particular day, the service was closed since it was a holiday.