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Gwanda Hospital not to blame for toddler amputation

01 Sep 2016 at 06:50hrs | Views
Following recent reports in the media on allegations of gross negligence by nurses at Gwanda Hospital children's ward which resulted in a one month old baby having to have a hand amputated, the Gwanda Residents Association saw it prudent to take the issue head on with the hospital authorities and seek to know what really transpired leading to the unfortunate incident.

The Association was motivated to take the move disappointedly because Gwanda Hospital has in recent years been on a huge rise towards excellence which left us wondering what could have suddenly happened.

On Wednesday, the 31st August 2016 the Association sort audience with the hospital administration which was represented by the most senior officials from the hospital.

Suffice to say that going into the meeting as residents representatives we were in a not too good mood against the hospital which we only recently established a formidable working relationship with.

In the discussions that ensued, we were very lucky that we got there at a time that Ministry of Health officials had just completed their investigations on the matter which made it easier for us to pick up the factual hospital side of the whole issue.

First and for most the Association regrettably notes that the media house that ran the story did not through the three times that it ran the issue bother to contact the hospital to get the hospital's side to this very important matter.

Such journalism leaves us as an Association disappointed and failing to understand the motive of the media house on sensationalising a matter of this nature which if not handled professionally and carefully was bound to cause mayhem and discord in the community.

The hospital trail of events leading to the ultimate unfortunate amputation of the baby's arm give a near completely opposite picture of the events outlined by the media house which if the journalist would have cared to stretch his journalism ethics a little further would have avoided sensationalising the matter and causing disharmony in both the hospital and the community in Gwanda.
We will not be repeating the sentiments portrayed in the media reports that ended with an editorial comment calling on the Ministry of Health to dismiss the entire nursing staff at the hospital and having their practising certificates cancelled and the doctors and hospital administration reprimanded.

The facts of the matter are that, the mother of the child first came to Gwanda Hospital from Bulawayo for maternity service prior the incident of the child being admitted at the hospital.

It is no secret that the Gwanda Hospital maternity hospital is of late amongst the top in the country which has seen an influx of expectant mothers from across the region preferring to come and deliver in Gwanda other than anywhere else in the region.

On the day that the baby was admitted at Gwanda hospital, the baby was coming for a routine seventh day check up.

Hospital facts are that at birth the child had a weight of 2700 grammes but on day seven the child was weighing in at 2200 grammes which was a loss of 500 grammes.

The hospital had no alterative but to admit the child. Facts on admission are that the child was heavily dehydrated and very underfed and at a serious risk of deteriorating further.

As reported by the paper, the nurses who admitted the child tried several times (but certainly not ten times as was reported by the media) to inset a cannular on the baby to administer orals and antibiotics due to the baby's severe dehydration.

The hospital discovered that the mother was refusing to breastfeed the child for reasons she would not give. Instead she was feeding the child 90 millilitres of formula milk per day instead of 90ml per feed which explains the huge weight loss and dehydration the babe faced.

In our investigations, we also gathered from other mothers who were with the mother at the time she was admitted at Gwanda Hospital that she was not even willing to only bath the child let alone feed the child.

The hospital staff discovered problems with the child's hand a few days after admission upon which they transferred the child to Mpilo Hospital in Bulawayo for a scan which is not available in Gwanda.

Mpilo hospital apparently couldn't do the scan and implored on the family to rush and do the scan at a private institution outside the hospital. The family refused to do the scan and in fact opted to reject further health care from the hospital and left the hospital to have the child attended to at a religious cult.

The child was away from health care for over ten days before resurfacing at the United Bulawayo Hospitals in an advanced state of illness a fact which the media chose to ignore.

The scan was eventually done at the private institution with the insistence of UBH in liaison with Mpilo Hospital and the amputation had to be unfortunately done.

Findings so far made by the hospitals do not at all point to any negligence on the part of nurses and doctors at Gwanda Hospital but if anything could unfortunately point the negligence on the part of the parents.

As the Gwanda Residents Association we are extremely saddened by the media house's entire handling of the matter which has left an absolutely undue dent on the staff at Gwanda hospital and caused panic and worry in the community.

Our visit to the hospital presented to us a picture of extremely demotivated medical staff.

Further to that we met up with patients in the wards not believing in the nurses at all as very have been tagged negligent and murderous.

A sober mind will tell one that a nurse who presented with a near dying baby tries her best to insert a cannular into the dehydrated child until she finds the vain was not mutilating the child as the paper reported but was very concerned and committed to her duty to save a life.

As the community of Gwanda it has taken us years to get this hospital to the level that we are in today and under no circumstances shall we sit back and allow some forces to at the strike of a pen destroy what we have laboured to build.

We are indeed aware that medical errors do happen at health centres and Gwanda Hospital is not spared of them but for the sake of community building and development as the community we will always be more happy to have issues presented to us in their precise state not made sensational for any cause.

As representatives of the Residents of Gwanda, the Gwanda Residents Association would by means of this statement want to encourage our staff at the hospital to remain focused and continue to strive for excellence and not be dented by this isolated incident.

To the residents we would like to urge each other to continue believing in our dedicated hospital staff and continue to give the hospital the support we have been giving them that has seen the hospital take the huge stride which continues to even attract those from outside us to our hospital facilities.

Bekezela Maduma Fuzwayo
Secretary General
Gwanda Residents Association.

Source - Bekezela Maduma Fuzwayo
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