BULAWAYO magistrate Tinashe Tashaya has ordered the Prosecutor-General’s office to investigate medical staff at Mpilo Central Hospital for alleged negligence following the mysterious death of a patient, Darlington Mangwiro, before he was taken to the theatre for a minor nose surgery.
BY SILAS NKALA
The order was triggered by the deceased family’s request for an inquest over Mangwiro’s death. The family said they suspected foul play.
Mangwiro, who was 23, died in theatre before a minor operation on his nose where he had developed a growth.
His relatives claimed they were traumatised after hospital staff sent them an invoice demanding payment for his stay in hospital, saying he had been discharged alive, yet he died hours after hospitalisation, with the hospital issuing a post-mortem report and a death certificate.
In his ruling delivered on Tuesday, Tashaya said after hearing evidence from the witnesses, it was the court’s finding that there was negligence on the part of the medical team that attended to the deceased.
“In light of that, it is hereby ordered that the Prosecutor-General’s office is ordered to investigate why a detailed report by the surgeon explaining what transpired on this day could not be obtained as per procedure,” he ruled.
“Whether junior doctors are allowed to attend to patients and perform all the anaesthesia procedures without the supervision of their seniors or consultant anaesthetist as was the case in casu, why a detailed ENT surgeon report (detailed patient’s clinical and medical history) was not produced to the pathologist during post-mortem.”
Tashaya said the probe must be done with the view of charging whoever was negligent and caused Mangwiro’s death.
The hospital had demanded $240 for Mangwiro’s purported 20-day hospital stay and threatened to hand over the family to debt collectors over the bill.
The deceased’s father, Mutero Mangwiro, said his son was admitted on April 23 for a minor operation, but events leading to his death raised a stink.
He said his son was booked into theatre at 8:15am on April 24 and at 9:30am he was certified dead. His claim was corroborated by records on the post-mortem report.
Mangwiro said the bill, sent to him indicated that the hospital’s financial records were in shambles.
“If you look at the bill it says he is still alive, yet the hospital issued the death certificate 24 hours later.
Is this not a matter of making John pay to cover for Peter? How many people are in this predicament? It shows that no-one cares about what is happening at the hospital,” Mutero said.