A freak accident near Mupfure River on Sunday in which two people died has exposed the shocking condition at Chegutu District Hospital with reports that survivors were left in pain and bleeding as there was no doctor to attend to them and no basic equipment for suturing the wounds.
BY PHYLLIS MBANJE
The survivors of the horrific accident reportedly spent ages sitting on benches unattended as the skeleton staff grappled to even provide painkillers.
They did not even have gloves to handle the bleeding wounds.
According to eye witnesses including a medical doctor in private practice from Harare who went searching for a college at the hospital, the casualty section was ill-equipped to handle the few survivors who had to endure pain in the absence of pain killers.
Narrating the ordeal to NewsDay the doctor (name supplied) said he had stumbled upon the accident as he was coming from a conference in Kadoma.
He said upon noticing that one of the vehicles belonged to an acquaintance he searched for their contact number and drove back to Chegutu District Hospital to check.
When he got to the casualty department he found them seated with two other survivors but there was no doctor.
“They were groaning in pain and bleeding profusely.
“I asked the staff if I could then carry out the suturing but to my surprise there were no pain killers, no gloves, betadine or anything, and I even went to the maternity ward but there was nothing,” he said.
The doctor said the pharmacist at the hospital apparently had locked up and left.
“I then asked them, ‘Is it the government failing to supply or your maladministration?’
“Surely hospitals cannot blame government for gloves. Do they expect the Health Minister or his deputy to come down and give them gloves,” the fuming doctor, who ended up ferrying two of the survivors back to Harare to his surgery, said.
“They were bleeding and I ended up giving them diclofenac for the pain and when we got to my surgery I sutured them for free. It is not about money but its people’s lives at stake,” he said.
When contacted for comment, the Chegutu district medical officer Tonderai Nhende said he was not on duty on that particular day but since it was during the weekend, it could explain the absence of the doctor and pharmacist.
“I understand the survivors were assisted and X-rays taken. On drugs maybe what was not there were the injectables otherwise we do have paracetamol,” Nhende said.
He said the confusion might have also come from an incident in which a COVID-19 patient was presented at the hospital.
“The area needed to be disinfected since it had been contaminated and the hospital staff was in the process of moving things maybe that is what caused the confusion,” he said.
This is not the first time the hospital has been mired in controversy. In February, government challenged the staffers at the facility to change attitude and improve hygiene standards at the medical centre.
Deputy Health and Child Care Minister John Mangwiro said the process of capacitating hospitals was ongoing.
“We want to ensure patients will get drugs and medical care when they visit public hospitals. It is work in progress,” Mangwiro said.