'Ward of No return' — Harare Hospital's deathbed

HARARE - When Jennifer Kadonzvo, 43, went to Harare Central Hospital with a complaint of heavy menstrual flow and coughing blood, she thought her suffering would cease since she was now in the care of medical professionals.

But that was not to be as she died because she could not get the required treatment on time.
An investigation by the Daily News reveals that there was negligence from hospital staff in handling the patient’s urgent requirements.

A former nurse aid, Kadonzvo died after she failed to get a blood transfusion that had been paid for in full. She was in a critical anaemic state.

A mother of three, Kadonzvo was in critical anaemic condition and due for a match-mixing blood transfusion.

Kadonzvo’s husband, 46-year-old Samuel, who was in Namibia at work at the time of the death told the Daily News crew that he had been trying to get an explanation from hospital authorities since his wife’s death on August 30 this year without success.

Since then, he has been tossed around by hospital officials without any meaningful excuses.

In the company of a Daily News crew, the husband confronted Principal director of Curative Services, Dr Christopher Tapfumaneyi who summoned the hospital’s chief executive officer, Peggy Zvavamwe who in turn referred him to her subordinate, a Dr Mukosi.

“They refused to see me when I wanted to get a clear report on my wife’s death, only to attend to me after six days. The people at the hospital were throwing me around from one person to another,” said the emotional husband.

“I went to the ward which had detained her to find out the name of the nurse on duty during the time my wife died. Hapana ari kuda kuburitsa mazita (no one wants to reveal names) and it has been almost two weeks. All I have encountered are rude nurses. I am tired and frustrated.”

It was only six days after her death that a Harare Hospital official only identified as Dr Mukosi called for a meeting with Kadonzvo’s husband.

Oblivious to the hospital staff was that a Daily News crew attended the meeting as part of Kadonzvo’s team.

Mukosi promised Kadonzvo’s husband that a meeting would be set up with all the professionals who had admitted or treated the deceased.

“Looking at your wife’s report I can see a lot of deficiencies and this is bad. I will round up those that attended to your wife and we can hear reports from each one of them. We will get to the bottom of these. However, I am sorry for your loss,” he said during the meeting.

The meeting could not, however, take place the following day as promised because Mukosi was being held up in theatre and those around refused to see Kadonzvo’s husband in his absence. They gave excuses and said they would not break protocol.

The Daily News crew and Kadonzvo’s husband searched high and low for Dr Musasiwa who was the cover doctor on duty the day that Kadonzvo died to get answers.

At the doctor’s office, Masasiwa was summoned and together with Kadonzvo’s family members where led to the dreaded Ward B, which is nicknamed the “Ward of No return”.

But like the first meeting with Mukosi, lots of promises were made and little was done. Musasiwa also expressed his sympathy: “I am sorry about your loss Mr Kadonzvo but when it comes to blood transfusion matters are tied. Blood Transfusion Services delayed to give us the blood. I promise to give you a full report but I cannot promise on when I can deliver this report to you, but I will do it.”

On the flipside of this horrid events, one of Kadonzvo’s nephew witnessed the negligence by hospital staff members which led to Kadonzvo’s death.

He said the people at the hospital acted as they had no heart for the sick and were not feeding her.

“One day she fell off the bed and there was no nurse to attend to her. I had to pick her and put her on the bed. Her clothes were filled with blood because the nurses had inserted a needle in her hand but until now we have not been told to what it was for. She lost a lot of blood because of this needle,” he said almost in tears."

Kadonzvo’s children will have to be left in the care of a relative while their father returns to Namibia and restructure his life, the deceased’s husband told the Daily News.

“I will not rest until I find who is responsible for my wife’s death. I want the whole of Ward B to be fined, if the hospital does not do something I will take the matter to court. I have been left alone to care for my children,” he said emotionally.

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