Nyangabgwe hospital guilty of negligence

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FRANCISTOWN: The Ministry of Health (MoH) has been ordered to pay out P50,000 to a woman who sued Nyangabgwe Referral Hospital (NRH) following a botched surgery performed on her in 2012.

The plaintiff in the case, Stella Dube, through her attorney Rodger Callender initially demanded P300,000 for pain, suffering and loss of amenities of life and disfigurement.

She also demanded the ministry to pay the costs of the suit. Dube instituted legal proceeding against the hospital after a gauze was left inside her genitalia following an operation to remove a cyst.

On Monday, Justice Phadi Solomon made an order for MoH to pay Dube P50,000 for the pain and suffering she endured following the operation. Solomon, however, ruled that Dube should not get anything in relation to her other claims.

Solomon ruled that Dube cannot get her other claims because she can perform other duties that she used to do before the operation.

She, however, said that NRH has a legal duty to conform to set medical standards when attending to patients. 

She said the gauze that was left in the claimant’s genitals ended up attaching itself to her labia. Solomon added: “The swelling of the plaintiff’s genitalia may have obscured other doctors from seeing it”.

Dube discovered the gauze after she visited Tati River Clinic for consultation because she continually felt pain in her genitalia and had difficulty walking.

A specialist from China finally successfully operated on her after she relayed her problem to NRH’s matron and superintendent because her situation was not improving.  She said that about five doctors at NRH examined her.

During trial, Dube said that on May 9, 2012 she was admitted at Nyangabgwe were she later had a miscarriage.

“On May 10, 2012 a doctor who consulted me discovered a cyst inside my genitalia and referred me to another doctor. I was operated on (the next day), but the operation was very painful.  I heard a nurse who was assisting the doctor saying that the operation was painful because the doctor forgot to inject me in order to reduce the pain,” said Dube.

Dube said that the doctor simply told the nurse to bring an injection as she experienced the pain.  She said that on May 13, 2012 she (Dube) was discharged from the hospital, but was not told that something was inside her private parts.

She said that the doctor only advised her to use a procedure known as a sitz bath to wash the wound.

She later went to Riverside Clinic where Dr Antonio Dezivas told her that there was a foreign body inside her genitalia. Dezivas said that he told Dube to go to Nyangabgwe for removal of the object that was deep inside her private parts. “I was going to operate the patient, but she ran out of cash so I referred her to Nyangabgwe hospital,” said Dr Dezivas.

Dr Kitenga Sebastien from NRH said that he indeed attended Dube on May 11, 2012.

Dr Sebastien said that he removed an abscess (a puss filled cavity) and not a cyst (a membranous sack that contains fluid that grows abnormally in human beings) from the plaintiff.

He said that he did so to help his colleague who told him that he (the colleague) was not sure about how to perform the surgery. “I then stitched the wound to allow the pus to come out and told the nurse to give the patient some medication to ease the pain she was feeling,” said Dr Sebastien.

He added that he instructed the patient to use a sitz bath four times every day to clean the wound.

Dr Sebastien said that the gauze was supposed to be removed the following day, but he was not sure if his colleague who initially attended Dube told her to remove it or not.

Dr Sebastien clarified that the gauze can fall on its own from patients who do the sitz bath regularly adding that from the way he put it inside the plaintiff’s genitals there was no way it could have stuck inside her.

Dr Sebastien added that he did not give Dube the medical advise she was to follow after the surgery because he thought that his colleague had already relayed it to her.

Editor's Comment
What about employees in private sector?

How can this be achieved when there already is little care about the working conditions of those within the private sector employ?For a long time, private sector employees have been neglected by their employers, not because they cannot do better to care for them, but because they take advantage of government's laxity when it comes to protecting and advocating for public sector employees, giving the cue to employers within the private sector...

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