By Whinsley Masara
A month old baby has had her right arm amputated after nurses at Gwanda Provincial Hospital allegedly mutilated it while trying to insert a cannula.
The Ministry of Health and Child Care yesterday said it had launched an investigation into the alleged negligence by nurses at the hospital.
Gangrene had set in on the arm and it was surgically removed at the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) on Tuesday.
The family has engaged lawyers to represent them in demanding compensation from the hospital.
Andile’s father, Mr Thabani Galaweni, said he was bitter that his daughter would grow up without an arm because hospital staff slept on duty.
“We’re devastated by the fact that due to the hospital staff’s negligence, Andile has had to undergo this horrible ordeal that may affect her for life. I’ve to simply accept what has happened though and thank God for the success of the operation but frankly, I’m very hurt,” said an emotional Mr Galaweni.
“Words cannot express what I feel. We’ve since engaged lawyers and we’re definitely suing the hospital for the protection of other patients.”
Miss Patience Chikahamadze (25), the baby’s mother, said Andile was born at the health institution on July 22 when she went to visit relatives in Gwanda.
The baby, she said, was admitted for routine observation on July 29 after she was said to be dehydrated.
“We’re thankful to God that the operation was a success. We were worried that our angel wouldn’t make it. She looked so frail after her arm started rotting. She’s still in the intensive care unit,” she said.
Miss Chikahamadze said Andile had been booked for surgery on Monday but the doctor decided she had to first recover from flu first.
“The delay in the operation procedure was what was worrying me most, but I guess it was all in good time,” she said.
Miss Chikahamadze said she would never forget July 29, 2016, when she shed tears as she watched nurses pricking her daughter all over her arm in a vain attempt to insert the cannula as they could not locate a vein to put a drip.
“They pricked my baby on almost 10 parts of her body and she wailed piteously. When they eventually forced it in, two pints of fluid were pumped into her arm before the drip stopped flowing and her arm began to swell,” she told The Chronicle last week
“We tried to tell the nurses on duty that something seemed amiss but they cut us short. They said they knew better. My baby’s condition began to deteriorate and she cried a lot indicating she was in pain. Nurses that I won’t mention by name turned a deaf ear and instead concentrated on their phones.”
Miss Chikahamadze said Andile’s body temperature shot up to about 40 degrees.
“The cannula was stuck on my baby’s arm for over a week, although we could see that the arm was getting infected. The arm was getting dehydrated and skin on her whole body began to peel off. Still no one was willing to listen to our pleas as they claimed to know better.
“The baby’s condition deteriorated until she looked like she had been scalded with a hot liquid on the arm,” she said, stifling sobs.
Andile was eventually transferred to Bulawayo on August 8.
Matabeleland South provincial medical director Dr Brian Maponga said a formal investigation had been instituted.
“A multi-disciplinary team is doing the formal inquiries and we expect that to be through by the end of this month. We will be able to respond through our official structures then,” he said. — @winnie_masara. The Chronicle