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ZORORO MAKAMBA's case: Doctors and hospitals tell patients: Show us the money before treatment

24 Mar 2020 at 14:21hrs | Views
Doctors and hospitals are increasingly asking patients to pay up front for treatment regardless of the condition of the patient. Considering the state of our hospitals the ministry of Health must do more to save the people and to bring to book the doctors and health workers who are now health mercenaries. Zororo Makamba's case is not an isolated case. Many Zimbabweans have died at the hands of these extortionous hospitals.

Tafadzwa Makoni needed hysterectomy. The 34-year-old single mother has uterine prolapse, a condition that occurs when the muscles and ligaments supporting the uterus weaken, causing severe pain, bleeding and urine leakage. Tafadzwa and her 13-year-old son have health insurance. This surgery was so important as it was a life saving procedure. With the situation at the Medical Aid company she is insured with the doctors demanded an upfront payment of twenty five United States dollars. Tafadzwa sat slumped in the reception chair. Her painful groans filled the whole hospital. She asked her relatives to make some calls. Nurses looked at her as if she was a filthy rag. There was no patient care at all and indeed she was in pain. Her daughter sat near her with tears flowing down her cheeks. She looked at her mother and she pleaded with Doctors to help.

Dhliwayo the cousin of Tafadzwa told the doctors that the money was ready. But it was in Bulawayo. He asked if the doctor has a relative in Bulawayo so that he can be given the funds while the medical procedure commences. The doctor refused and moved away shouting in the corridor. " there is no op without money. I need to see the money in my hands or no surgery. " There was no other option but to ask someone to bring the money from Bulawayo. In a desperate move money was given to a man who was coming to Harare. He would inform them every step he was taking. While the money was now in Gweru Tafadzwa had been given a bad but no one was attending to her. The pains did not end. Relatives were milling outside some praying some crying. Within two hours which seemed like the whole year a man arrived with two khaki envelopes containing the money. When the money was paid the doctors quickly started to prepare Tafadzwa for the op. It was a relief to all who had lived the horror of the day, the unreasonableness of the doctors. Tafadzwa was wheeled to the theatre curtains to the theatre were brought down. Relatives clasped their hands in prayer and were very anxious.

After ten minutes the doctor came back with his head on the side. Tafadzwa did not make it. The surgery came too late. If she was attended to early she would have survived. A shining light was switched off all because of money. The doctors refused to refund a penny even though the patient died due to their greediness.

Tafadzwa's case ha the DNA of Zororo Makamba's case. The hospital refused to transfer him to where he could get help. The private hospital demanded hundred and twenty thousand US dollars. They even gave a condition that you have to donate the 120:000 dollar equipment to Wilkins. Did the government not sat Wilkins is being given an up lifting by the Chinese. Why force a dying man to donate. The rest of the story is fresh in our mind. Zororo Makamba died. This angers everybody If one needs medical care, She should be able to get it without having to afford it up front. What has our Heath care come up to.

At many doctors offices and hospitals, a routine part of doing business these days is estimating patients' out-of-pocket payments and trying to collect the money up front. Eyeing retailers' practice of keeping credit card information on file, "there's certainly been a movement by health care providers to store some of this information and be able to access it with patients' permission.

But there's a big difference between handing over a credit card to cover a $20 copayment and suddenly being confronted with a $2,000 charge to cover a an amount that might take months to pay off or exceed a patient's credit limit.

Doctors do refuse to provide needed care before the payment is made, even as patients' health hangs in the balance.

The strategy leaves patients financially vulnerable, too. Once a charge is on a patient whether she dies or lives they may have trouble contesting a medical bill. Likewise, a service placed on a health insurance represents a consumer's commitment that the charge was justified, so payment is more likely to go Un refunded.

Approximately three-quarters of health care and hospital systems ask for payment at the time services are provided, a practice known as "point-of-service collections, This is done to any person who attends these health facilities situations that would likely result in out-of-pocket outlays of hundreds or thousands of dollars.

For providers they argue that there's more risk if money is not collected upfront because the chance of being able to collect it later diminishes, when the person dies. But the practice leaves many patients resentful.

After arriving by ambulance at the emergency department, Tatenda Mpofu lay on a gurney in his bloody clothes with a surgical bonnet on his head, waiting to be wheeled into surgery to repair his punctured lungs at a hospital near his home in Borrowdale.

A woman in street clothes approached her. Identifying herself as the surgeon's office manager, she demanded that Tatenda make a 10:000 payment before the surgery could proceed. Ashton the brother begged the lady to do the surgery while he goes home to look for the money and to check with friends.

The woman crossed her arms and Ashton remembers her saying, "You have to figure it out." As providers aim to maximize their collections, many people in health emmergency die even if the money is available.

But as hospitals and doctors push for point-of-service payments to get rich fast the risk is that patients will delay care and end up in the grave. Patients are essentially paying for their procedures up front,It may not be a significant amount compared to their salary, but they don't necessarily have it available at the time of service.

Tatenda pays $110 a month for his family plan. But the health insurance is not trusted by the service providers.

Still, experts say that trying to pin patients down for payment in more acute settings, such as the emergency department,is crossing a line.a patient who has a health emergency has to be stabilized and treated before any hospital personnel can discuss payment with them. If it's not an emergency, however, those discussions can occur before treatment, the ministry of health must reign in these money oriented doctors.

As Zimbabwe faces the Corona pandemic our doctors must go back to the basics. Makamba's case exposes the shot comings in our health system. ZIMBABWE is in serious crisis. This Corona needs less greedy doctors and nurses. Seriously demanding 120.000.00 dollars in foreign currency is witch craft. If our Ministry of health fails to bring sanity to the health system then we are doomed. There is a stink in the ministry nurses pay a bribe to be trained. They pay bribes to be given employment. Then the patients pay bribes to be treated on top of the ridiculous charges they are charged.

Our hearts goes to all Zimbabweans facing this evil in the hospitals. Thousands have died even though they had monies to pay.

Vazet2000@yahoo.co.uk

Source - Dr Masimba Mavaza
All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24's community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

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