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Council refutes negligence over COVID-19 fatality

by Daniel Itai
25 Mar 2020 at 18:24hrs | Views
The Harare City Council (HCC) has refuted allegations from the Makamba family which insinuate that Zororo Makamba, the first casualty of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic in Zimbabwe died due to lack of medical equipment.

Today, the Daily News reported that Tawanda Makamba, Zororo's elder brother gave an account of what caused his younger brother's death.

"Zororo was in New York for 20 days and when he came back he had a slight flu, a cold. He then went to his General Practitioner who checked him for Coronavirus symptoms and said he didn't have them at the time.

He was just told that he had a cough and a flu because in New York it's cold and here it's hot, so they then treated him for flu and he came back home.

On Friday last week he started developing a fever and his doctor recommended that he had to be admitted. This is because Zororo had a tumour removed from just under his left lung last year in November and he was under an 18-month recovery time-frame.

His immune system was already compromised, so the doctor was very keen that he gets into the hospital and receives proper medication to help him get over the flu and fever.

He was further advised to go to Wilkins Hospital to test for the Coronavirus. He arrived at Wilkins Hospital by 10 am and samples were collected from him and we were told that the results would be in after 6 hours.  

After 6 hours there were no results and his General Practitioner called to find out why the results had not been availed yet. The hospitals officials then told the General Practitioner that they had not run the tests yet, they were waiting for samples from provincial hospitals to run them all at once.

The doctor got frustrated and started questioning why they had not run the tests given that Zororo's condition was deteriorating. After some time they then decided to run the test and in the meantime we took him home because he needed oxygen.

His General Practitioner phoned around and an ambulance came home to deliver the oxygen and then we got the positive results for Coronavirus at about 1:30 am or 2:00 am the following day.

They told us that now that they had confirmed that he had the virus he had to be taken to the Wilkins Hospital for treatment.

We then inquired if we could bring him immediately and we were told that the hospital was not ready to receive Coronavirus patients.

So in the morning we waited and waited and they were still not ready to admit him. He ended up being admitted around 10, 11 am.

His doctor made it clear earlier on that he had to be on a ventilator because he could not breathe. However, when we got at Wilkins Hospital there was no ventilator, no medication and even the oxygen would run out and they had to get it from the City of Harare.

After that we ran around to find a ventilator for him and we managed to get a portable ventilator from a family friend who had a relative who used the ventilator before he died.
We then brought the ventilator on Sunday by 2 pm and when we got here, because the portable ventilator had an American plug, they told us to get an adapter because they only had round sockets at the hospital. I then rushed to buy an adapter and came back and they never used it and when I asked why they were not using the ventilator they said they had no sockets in his room.

So they didn't have medication, ventilators and we brought them a ventilator and they didn't have sockets in his room. I told them that I had an extension cord and pleaded with them to use the cord, but they refused.

At the end before he died, he kept telling us that he was alone and scared and the staff was refusing to help him to a point where he got up and tried to walk out and they were trying to restrain him.

However, right now they don't even have water at Wilkins. So if you come here to be treated for Corona there is absolutely no treatment you will get, you will die.

I am not a healthcare giver but I have respect for nurses and doctors. The doctor we were in contact with here at Wilkins would turn off his phone yet he was the critical contact person, the nurses also refused to help us.

So people need to know that the government is ill-prepared, it is not ready to deal with this virus."

Regardless the city of Harare has since denied Tawanda Makamba's side of the story.
"Wilkins Hospital is prepared and was always prepared ever since it became an infectious hospital.

Decisions are made on the basis of the status of the patient who according to doctors had a medical problem before contracting Corona, the patient had a tumor operation on the chest and had certain difficulties that made it very difficult to recover.

Wilkins Hospital and staff did a tremendous job to an extent that the patient had an oxygen tank that helped him for hours making a mockery to allegations that a ventilator wasn't there.
The hospital is safe and has saved lives before and will once rise up to the occasion to save again, council will not accept a clear denigration of its employees who have toiled for years to save those with TB, HIV and all communicable diseases," said the HCC.

Source - Daniel Itai