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Couple loses newly-born baby after ‘negligent’ nurse ignores wailing expectant mother

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By James Muonwa I Mashonaland West Correspondent  

A CHINHOYI family is in mourning after losing their newly-born in the hands of an allegedly negligent nurse, who ignored pleas from an expectant mother crying out for help while in labour.

September 19, 2022 was supposed to be a joyous day for the Mutizira family after a heavily pregnant Portia (nee Dzinzi) was admitted at Chinhoyi Provincial Hospital to deliver her new baby, who was to be her third child.

But alas, the 36-year-old mother underwent a horrific experience at the referral institution, with an unidentified female nurse leaving her unattended while in excruciating labour without rendering any professional assistance.

The hospital’s maternity ward has lately become notorious for unexplained neo-natal deaths.

Narrating his wife’s ordeal to NewZimbabwe.com, Tellmore Komboni Mutizira expressed anger over the negligent and unprofessional conduct.

“It was a dark day in my life. I came face to face with cruelty and negligence of the worst form,” he said.

“My wife was pregnant and I took her to Chinhoyi Provincial Hospital when she started complaining of labour pains. We got there around 5 O’clock in the morning, and she was admitted in the labour ward.

“She spent the whole day there waiting for the big moment. I left her around 12 noon and when I returned around 7pm, I found her in great pain meaning her time was almost up.

“She was crying out in agony and I called the nurse who was present, but she told me that my wife wasn’t due but was being too dramatic.”

Mutizira said in less than 20 minutes, the child started emerging, prompting him to call the nurse again.

“The nurse came and told my wife not to push further as she was not wearing gloves,” he said.

“The baby was half way out by that time and the nurse was not in any hurry until the baby fell off without any assistance from her.

“l could see my baby lying there with a careless nurse showing no urgency at all.

“Later she picked my daughter and wrapped her and left without even uttering a word to us about the baby, but simply ordered my wife to clean herself.

“I left the hospital around 10pm a dejected man. The following day at 2pm my family was discharged and I took them home and we spent the night with the new baby struggling to feed.

Appeal to healthcare professionals

“The next morning, we took her back to the hospital. On arrival at the hospital my baby girl was pronounced dead and the cause of death was that she gulped some fluids upon birth. That was my loss.”

The distraught couple, who did not lodge a formal complaint with the hospital authorities, appealed to health workers to remain committed to the “Hippocratic Oath” they pledged upon training as nurses and doctors to avoid further deaths which have become prevalent at the hospital’s maternity ward.

“I beg you in the strongest terms, doctors and nurses, please better be absent from work than to be catalysts for human losses. She was not just someone, but my baby,” said Mutizira.

Chinhoyi Provincial Hospital medical superintendent, Dr Collet Mawire confirmed getting wind of the child’s death through social media.

“I got it on social media, but what we expect when such incidents happen is that the complainant must come forward and talk to management and lodge a formal complaint, then we conduct an investigation,” said Mawire.

“However, that did not happen, but we are going to carry out our investigation to establish what really happened.”

Zimbabwe’s neonatal mortality rate, due to a myriad of causes, was at the level of 25, 7 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2020, down from 26, 2 deaths per 1 000 live births the previous year, translating to a decline of 1,91%.