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    Friday, 15 December 2017

    Road accidents in Zim

    -The anguish of the Anglican Bishop


    MASVINGO – The Anglican Bishop of Masvingo, the Right Reverend Godfrey Tawonezvi is a disappointed man.
    He lost his beloved son Matthew RufaroTawonezvi (20) in a road accident four weeks ago.
    But that cannot be the source of his anger.
    The whole process from the time the accident happened to the hour that Matthew passed on 27 hours later was a walk through hell. 
    Nothing at the Hospital worked.
    There was no ambulance at Masvingo Provincial hospital; all were broken down, there were no pain killers, there was no hard collar neck to put around the injured boy's neck, the X-ray machine was not working and the whole City does not have a CT Scan.
    To make matters worse the doctor who attended to Matthew could not find time to discuss the boy's injuries with the Bishop. He simply was uncooperative, said Bishop Tawonezwi. The nurses in the ward added salt to injury as they did nothing when the parents pleaded with them to do something in the face of Matthew's rapidly deteriorating condition.
    "The pharmacy at the hospital did not even have pain killers. He was admitted at around midnight and we only managed to get the required co-codamol pain killers at around 830am the following day when private pharmacies opened.
    "You can imagine the pain that my son went through without something to give him relief from the intrinsic pain," said Bishop Tawonezvi.
    Although the accident happened about 3,5km from the hospital at Wimpy Service Station along Harare – Beitbridge Road, Matthew had to spend 45 minutes lying by the roadside. It took a motorist passing by to bundle the injured boy into his car and drop him at the hospital.
    The delay to get to hospital meant that Matthew could not meet the Golden Hour Rule which says an injured person must get medical attention within the first 60 minutes of the accident. The Ministry of Health and the Zimbabwe Traffic Safety Council have been on a campaign to create awareness on this rule.
    Matthew was injured when a friend's car where he was a passenger swerved off the road and overturned as they came from a function with friends. The accident happened between 10 and 11 pm and Takura Mujakachi who is suspected to have been speeding, ran away from the scene. Bishop Tawonezvi arrived at the hospital at around 1am after the doctor had just examined his son and the latter was being whisked away into the ward for admission.
    It is then that he first tried to meet the doctor to find out his son's condition. He also wanted to take his son to Harare if the doctor thought it was necessary.
    He failed to see the doctor but the nurses assured him that except for external injuries, the boy was fine. He was given a prescription for pain killers, an X-ray and a hard neck collar.
    He frantically tried to get the prescribed items that night but all pharmacies in Masvingo were closed and he retired to bed at around 2am hoping to resume his search the next morning.
    At 7am, Bishop Tawonezvi was up and all over the City again. The pharmacies were not open until 8am and that is when he managed to get the co-codomals at a pharmacy in Mucheke.
    He failed to get the hard collar neck.
    It was only after 9:30am that Premier Medical Aid opened its X-ray services department. Bishop Tawonezvi had to fork out $40 to hire an EMRAS ambulance for the one kilometre trip from Masvingo Provincial Hospital to Premier where the X-ray was to be done.
    Although the doctor had asked for an X-ray for the neck only, an X-ray expert at Premier insisted that they take two X-rays, one for the neck and the other for the head since the head was also injured.
    The X-rays were immediately availed and these were taken back to the doctor at around 10:30am, almost 12 hours after the accident. After seeing the X-ray, the doctor once again concluded that the boy did not have serious injuries and recommended for just a management of the patient by nurses.
    What baffled Rev Tawonezvi is that although the doctor did not recommend an X-ray of the head, the post-mortem concluded that serious head injuries were some of the causes of death.
    "I got extremely worried at about 1pm the next day when I realised that my son had a wound behind his ear that was bleeding and uncovered. I could also see that his head was swollen. His situation was obviously deteriorating as he could no longer speak and could not eat.
    "I asked to see the doctor but made no headway. I then pleaded with the nurses to do something about the bleeding and uncovered wound.
    "One of the sisters took me into a private room and told me that as nurses they only did as instructed by the doctor," said Mai Tawonezvi.
    It was at that stage that Bishop Tawonezvi decided to take his son to Harare the next morning. Unfortunately Matthew passed on at around 1 am that night.
    After the post-mortem results Bishop Tawonezvi was convinced that the doctor on duty was either negligent or was just incompetent. He also expressed disgust at the doctor's attitude, particularly his refusal to see him.
    "Had he told me that a CT scan would produce better results than an X-ray, we could have taken our son to Harare and by God's grace Matthew could have survived. Ironically the doctor said that our son had no serious injuries and this naturally forced us to relax. The post-mortem by Dr Godfrey Zimbwa however, proved the doctor wrong, it said Matthew died from the neck and head injuries which the doctor on duty gave a clean bill.
    "When my son died I became so determined to see the doctor and tell him my piece of mind. I called and told him that I was not leaving the hospital until I meet him. Under the circumstances, he was forced to meet me and we talked for about an hour.
    "He conceded to me that he was only a .....and therefore he could have failed to interpret the X-ray correctly. He also agreed that it was his obligation as a medical doctor to engage patients' relatives and give relevant advice. He was therefore obliged to advise me on options available for my son's treatment," said Bishop Taonezvi.
    "Although there are shortages of essential drugs and equipment in Zimbabwe, there are things that hospital staff can do without money and these include engaging relatives of the sick, showing compassion and being accountable.
    "Compassion and courtesy does not need money for doctors and nurses to give. Meeting relatives also doesn't require money. I am very disappointed with the doctor who was on duty.
    "I have said to myself if these are things happening to people in the city who know their way around, it must be a nightmare for the poor man and woman coming from the village.
    "It is everyone's right to see a doctor who is attending to one's child and it is also my right to get sound advice from a doctor," said Bishop Taonezvi.
    Matthew was buried at St Mary's Church Cemetry in Chitungwiza on October 25 2017.

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