Ex-Health minister faces negligence claim

BY CHARLES LAITON

FORMER Health deputy minister Edwin Muguti has lost his bid to challenge a High Court order compelling him to pay R252 546 and $28 000 to a local couple after he negligently conducted an operation which led to several medical complications.

The court also slapped him with costs on a higher scale.

The patient, Patricia Singizi, and her husband Samuel Singizi, filed a lawsuit against Muguti sometime in 2016, citing Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals, Health and Child Care ministry and Medical and Dental Practitioners Council of Zimbabwe (MDPCZ) as respondents.

On November 23, 2018, High Court judge Justice Phildah Muzofa delivered a determination in the couple’s favour, saying Muguti’s negligence had caused the couple to lose thousands of dollars in an attempt to rectify his mistake and, therefore, was liable to pay.

Muguti then filed an application for rescission of judgment, but did not pursue the matter, prompting the couple to once again approach the court seeking dismissal of Muguti’s matter for want of prosecution.

The matter was then heard by Justice Helena Charewa on November 8, 2019 and she ruled in the couple’s favour.

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“Whereupon after reading documents filed of record and hearing counsel, it is ordered that: Application for dismissal of case for want of prosecution be and is hereby granted; first respondent (Edwin Muguti)’s court application for recession of default judgment in HC72/19 be and is hereby dismissed and first respondent be and is hereby ordered to pay costs of suit on a higher scale of legal practitioner and client,” Justice Charewa ruled.

Three years ago, Justice Muzofa ordered Muguti to pay the couple
R252 546 being compensation for all expenses incurred and to be incurred by them as a result of his negligence, US$1 200 for travelling expenses to and from South Africa, US$630 for Patricia’s future travelling expenses, US$20 000 for pain and suffering and US$6 000 for the couple’s loss of earnings.

According to the judgment, on September 14, 2015, Patricia was admitted to Ward B8 at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals, where she was diagnosed with chronic cholecystitis due to gall bladder stones.

The court heard that she had abdominal pain for three months and Muguti, with the assistance of other medical personnel, conducted laparoscopic cholecystectomy on her.

She was discharged from the hospital, but a week later, she returned due to abdominal swelling.

The court heard that the diagnosis was that she had a bile leak and was told by Muguti that the hospital had no facility to remedy the condition and could only get assistance in South Africa.

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