INYATHI District Hospital nurses and other health professionals have been accused of negligence after a patient went missing from the institution, only to be found three days later in the bush.
The hospital reportedly professed ignorance on the whereabouts of Isaac Dlodlo, allegedly claiming that he had been “troublesome” the night before and “might have discharged himself without their knowledge”.
Dlodlo (77) was admitted at Inyathi Hospital on January 27 suffering from bouts of seizures after he collapsed at his Hawu homestead in Inyathi, only to go missing two days later from the institution.
He was found about 20km away from the hospital and his family said it was a miracle they found him alive after spending three nights without food in the bush, and being battered by the heavy rains and the searing hot weather.
His family took him to Bulawayo, fearing that if they took him back to the hospital, he might go missing again.
Dlodlo is recovering at home, and could not recall how he left the hospital.
“After the seizures he had somewhat lost his memory, I could not understand why the nurses would not keep watch on him, and above all profess ignorance on his whereabouts,” his wife Dorcas said.
“He was in no state to leave the hospital on his own.
“They gave me ‘silly excuses’ claiming that he had been troublesome the night before wanting to be discharged.
“We reported the matter to the police and the cops were not of any help, as they said they could only assist us in searching for him after seven days.”
It took the search party, comprising relatives and Inyathi villagers, three days to locate him at Matikiti village about 20km from the hospital, she said.
Dora Mabhena, the wife of the late Matabeleland North governor Welshman a relative of Dlodlo family, condemned the Inyathi Hospital nurses and other support staff, saying the incident showed gross negligence and was criminal.
“They did not show any concern and they were not helpful at all,” she said.
“Surely, how can a patient go missing from a hospital?
“It’s criminal and shows negligence. “Other people who were visiting their relatives also had sad stories to tell about the treatment they got from nursing staff at Inyathi Hospital.”
Norman Mabhena, a member of the MDC-T guardian council and a family relative, called on the hospital staff to do their jobs in looking after patients. “It’s unheard of. We go to hospitals to seek help and not to disappear,” he said.