A VICTORIA FALLS couple is battling to put the puzzle together following the alleged sudden death of their two-day-old son at the resort town’s government-run hospital, leading to some residents taking to the streets demanding answers from hospital management.
By Nokuthaba Dlamini
The couple, Juliet Dube (22) and Faison Nyathi (29) from Mfelandawonye suburb on August 27 welcomed their 3,7kg baby boy at the hospital through a Caesarian section and on August 29 he died under mysterious circumstances.
Ward 11 councillor Edmore Zhou and the mob gathered in solidarity with the Nyathi family yesterday morning near Moringa shops to map the way forward since the family, including the mother had not been able to view the baby’s corpse.
The family took turns to narrate to the residents what happened on the fateful day and how hospital personnel had ignored their plea.
Dube said after her operation, her child was given the all clear by the attending doctor and she spent two nights with him without noticing any anomaly.
“After the 6am visiting hour, my family left after taking photos and I then started breastfeeding him.
I then laid him on my side and a nurse aide (name supplied) came rushing and picked him without talking to me.
I was still weak and in pain and I did not inquire where she was taking him to.
After 10 minutes, she approached me to go to the labour room and a sister-in-charge sat me down and told me that my son had died,” Dube narrated.
“On the table, there was a child who was naked and looked lifeless and they said it was mine.
I found them already wrapping the child and immediately took him to the mortuary.
I did not get an opportunity to draw closer and see him.
Inquiring how he had died, they told me that they took him from me already dead but that is not true because I had just breast-fed him.”
The other family members were notified of the death at 9am and advised to purchase paraffin and firewood to incinerate the corpse.
“They kept insisting that we should immediately bring 5 litres of paraffin and a bunch of firewood so that they burn the corpse for us.
A sister called (name supplied) told me that the child had a mental problem and his umbilical cord was rotten, leading to his death, but that was not true because we were applying spirit everyday and the doctor in his letter after operation had certified him as healthy.
“Following day, we were told that he died due to starvation.
The doctor sent the body to Mpilo Central Hospital in Bulawayo and on Friday last week and it was concluded that the child had a headache,” Nyathi’s mother said.
Nyathi’s sister claimed that the child had been given to another woman whose child had died after being dropped by a nurse.
The family refused to take the corpse after the autopsy.
“My child had a huge, red scratch on top of his right eye; he had a bandage on his right arm wrist and injection piercing mark which had darkened him.
His hair was not fully right up to the forehead and he had a wider face.
“The day he was born, as a family we examined his palm and feet marks to see if they matched with ours and we did not see that,” Nyathi said.
Another family member Thalitha Sibanda claimed that the dead child was smaller than their relative’s and suggested that DNA tests be conducted to verify the identity of the dead child.
Hwange district health officer Wisdom Kurauone could not be reached for a comment as his mobile phone went unanswered.
Hospital staff declined to comment referring all the questions to Kurauone.