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70 doctors face negligence charges

Seventy doctors at various health centres countrywide allegedly displayed negligence and incompetence, which, in some instances, led to patients suffering life-threatening complications.

Medical and Dental Practitioners’ Council of Zimbabwe (MDPCZ) registrar Mrs Josephine Mwakutuya
Medical and Dental Practitioners’ Council of Zimbabwe (MDPCZ) registrar Mrs Josephine Mwakutuya

One doctor’s practising licence has since been cancelled after he played a part in an avoidable still-birth.

The medical practitioner was also ordered to enrol for further training, while a special panel is investigating cases involving his colleagues.

Medical and Dental Practitioners’ Council of Zimbabwe (MDPCZ) registrar Mrs Josephine Mwakutuya said that the doctors will be charged with poor communication, advertising professional services, negligence, unethical conduct and incompetence. Penalties will be determined at disciplinary hearings.

According to Mrs Mwakutuya, one case involves a gynaecologist who failed to administer proper post-natal tests.

The complications resulting from this malpractice could not, however, be immediately established.

“The second case concerns poor management of a patient by a general practitioner. In this case, a pregnant woman was admitted at a private maternity hospital. The doctor delayed referring the patient to a central hospital, despite poor progression of the pregnancy.

“The patient delivered a still-birth in theatre at the central hospital. The council cancelled the practising licence of the doctor, and ordered him to go for further training.”

Cases involving negligence have plagued the health sector in the last few years.

In 2009, a toddler was amputated after a doctor left a tourniquet on his arm for four days.

In 2010, a Harare woman’s baby died after an induced delivery went wrong.

The courts are also dealing with a matter involving a doctor who was practising without registration.

MDPCZ, a statutory body established by the Health Professions Act (Chapter 27:19), is mandated to regulate medical and dental practitioners.

About 2 856 practitioners are registered with the Council. The Sunday Mail

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