By Helen Kadirire
HARARE – Courage Mambingadya, 18 could be voting in this month’s elections but he cannot speak, walk or write.
He was not like this as a child.His mother Chipo Samoyo is bitter and wants justice for Courage who was injured while going for a routine check-up at Parirenyatwa hospital.
She said Courage was born a normal baby without any disabilities but when he was diagnosed with laryngeal papillomatosis all his problems began.
Samoyo said like most children of his age he could talk, walk, run and play just like many other able bodied children.
She said when Courage was three years old, they noticed that he had a breathing problem and upon seeking medical treatment at Parirenyatwa he was diagnosed with laryngeal papillomatosis.
“He was breathing heavily and we did not know what it was. The doctors said the problem could be alleviated by constantly being cleaned but that did not guarantee that the problem would disappear. They said the illness would eventually disappear as Courage grows older.
“We accepted the situation and said so long as there was a solution and he was okay, there would be no problem. So every time that the laryngeal papillomatosis grew, we would go to Parirenyatwa and he would be cleaned at the theatre.
“He never stayed in the hospital after that and would be discharged on the same day as he was not considered to be seriously ill,” she said.
She said it became their routine that every time Courage’s voice got husky, they would go and get him treated at the hospital — all the while footing his treatment bill alone.
They went to Parirenyatwa five times for the cleaning but on the sixth visit Courage was not so lucky and emerged from the operating theatre with the disability.
“On the sixth operation day he had spent the whole day without eating as they prepared him for the theatre. When they decided to attend to him that is when they realised that his breathing problem had become worse than when he had been admitted. We became worried when we noticed the time it had taken to have him operated on.
“We enquired with the nursing staff how his condition was since we were worried and they assured us that everything was fine. Later a doctor came to us and told us that we had to take his items to the Intensive Care Unit after saying that Courage had “fallen”. He stayed for three days in the ICU and was later returned to regular wards after they noticed some improvements,” she said.
Little did the family know the fall would cause a permanent disability, as he would have to live and be fed milk through a tube in his nostrils.
Courage’s mother said the hospital concealed what his exact problem was only opting to tell the family that he had suffered spine and brain damage.
Samoyo said doctors then referred Courage to a rehabilitation centre in Ruwa for physiotherapy where he stayed for one month but with no improvement. He was discharged after they noticed he was not improving.
She said at the time they were staying in Mabvuku but when they relocated to Chitungwiza they had to attend the physiotherapy clinic locally.
“When he was coming for the sessions, the doctors told us that there was nothing that could change his condition as doctors had taken too long to attend to him when he “fell”. All the exercises he was doing were in vain.
They said continuously exercising would just hurt him as his injuries had worsened. His father was affected by Courage’s condition that he started having seizures which he has until now,” Samoyo said.
She said the family began to suffer because since landlords did not understand Courage’s condition and they would constantly be evicted.
However, Courage’s mother thanked Chitungwiza Town Council for offering her a residential stand but her hurdle was getting the $2 100 needed to secure the stand.
“What is bothering us as a family now is that the doctor who was responsible for Courage is nowhere to be found.
“When we enquired at Parirenyatwa on countless time, they told us that he no longer works there and they have lost track of his whereabouts. We want justice for our son because he went to hospital as a healthy boy but returned home with a disability.
“The hospital never helped us but instead chased us out of the final meeting we had with them.
“They did not feel bothered that their hospital was responsible for Courage’s state. Courage needs full time care which I can no longer afford. I want that doctor to pay for what he did to my son.
“Courage requires a special diet which is very expensive for both me and his father since we are unemployed. We need transport to get him to hospital when he has complications and we need proper accommodation close to a hospital for his sake. Courage could be working for himself since he is now 18-years-old but he is an invalid.
“I am very bitter because of what happened to Courage. I have engaged the minister of Health David Parirenyatwa over the problem but to no avail. I cannot just let it slide while everyone says they are now busy campaigning to be members of Parliament.
“This was caused by someone and the issue needs to be finalised. He needs 24-hour care but he is not the only child.
“There are four others who need me,” she said. Daily News.