By Bridget Mananavire
A 44-year-old woman tragically lost her fingers on her most active right hand due to a medical error at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals.
Netsai Matibe from Dzivaresekwa Extension in Harare is mulling dragging the hospital to court for medical negligence, alleging the loss of her hand could have been avoided.
It’s not clear if the hospital will admit liability.
Matibe argues she has not only lost her hand but also her source of livelihood as she can no longer work.
According to Matibe, the nurses forgot to remove the rubber gloves they had tightly tied on her arm as they wanted to make veins more visible to enable them to draw blood.
Though the incident happened in 2014, Matibe could not lodge her complaint earlier saying she was going through a lot emotionally due to the death of her son.
“I want them to pay me for life. I used to work at a supermarket before this happened, operating the till, and after I lost my fingers, I can no longer do that or operate a computer.
“Right now, I can’t even use the hand. I used to be employed, but now I can’t work, and this is the right hand that I had been using.
“When I went to Parirenyatwa, they first asked why I had delayed submitting my complaint and said they would look into it.
“I have two kids who need to be taken care of. I used to work for my kids but this incident left me unable to do that,” she recalled ruefully.
Matibe, who was informed by the hospital on Friday that they had referred her case to the Medical Practitioners Council of Zimbabwe, said the doctors had proposed amputating her hand after the blunder but she refused.
“I was transferred to Parirenyatwa when I had birth complications as the placenta did not fully come out. So when the nurse left that tight rubber on my arm, I did not notice and was in pain. The next day when I was going into theatre, that is when they discovered that blood was not flowing to my arm.
“The following day, the other doctor came sliced of parts of my hand skin and I overhead them saying I should be amputated. I refused this suggestion and they discharged me,” Matibe told the Daily News.
“I went home and stayed like that in pain and my fingers started darkening. I lost my child seven months later and that was in 2015, he just died. And then my fingers started falling. So I was in a lot of pain through the whole time, emotionally and physically.
“I also did not have enough blood and was weak, so I could not make a follow up on the case.
“But this year, since I am better, I started the process.”
She said she was yet to get legal counsel.
“I think I am going to need lawyers to assist me on how much I should be getting and how the payment can be made,” she said.
Contacted for comment, Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals public relations officer, Linos Dhire said they had referred the case to the council of medical practitioners.
“We have since invited Ms Matibe to the hospital and explained to her the processes that are taking place,” Dhire said.
“While we have taken note of all the issue raised by Ms Matibe, we subscribe to the cardinal rule of patient confidentiality and as such, we are not at liberty to discuss the details of the patients’ health information with the media. All we can reveal is that the matter is now being handled by the Medical Practitioners Council of Zimbabwe.” Daily News