Parirenyatwa denies negligence on amputated girl, accuses mother of lying

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By Mary Taruvinga, Senior Reporter

TABLES have turned against a Harare woman, Tiny Masvaure, who sued Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals for negligence which led to the amputation of her daughter’s leg, with the medical institution denying any culpability.

The hospital’s chief executive officer, Aspect Jacob Venganai Maunganidze, responded to the lawsuit, accusing Masvaure of lying about facts.

Maunganidze told the high court that Masvaure should be thankful that nurses worked hard to save her daughter’s life since she was sickly from the moment she was born.

The CEO said they have no problem with releasing medical documentation requested by Masvaure.

He said the girl, now just over a year old, was amputated because of her medical condition.

Maunganidze said they did not brush away Masvaure’s concerns, but investigations were done in terms of the laws.

“After due processes were completed, all the concerned nurses were acquitted of any wrongdoing. As such, this investigation did not address the crux of the matter, which is the clinical explanation of how gangrene developed on the baby, something which could not be determined through interviews,” Maunganidze said.

“We believe that is the key issue that has to be addressed and that can only be explained from the baby’s medical records and external clinical audit. Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals is open to that process,” he said.

Masvaure said she was labeled “a troublesome parent” after continuously raising her baby’s condition with the nurses she is now suing.

Her baby was born on December 23, 2020 at Mbuya Nehanda Maternity Hospital, which is under Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals’ purview.

Masvaure said she was asthmatic and as such had breathing difficulties, which caused her to give birth to a preterm at 34 weeks.

In a letter seen by, her lawyer, Paida Saurombe said Masvaure, inquired if there were any complications with the baby besides her being slightly underweight and she was advised that her baby was healthy.

But Maunganidze said the baby was unwell from the start.

“This is denied. The correct position is that Masvaure was not only admitted for asthma as alleged, but presented with three conditions which resulted in her admission. She was a referral from Mabvuku Polyclinic because she was a complicated case. Her condition was that she was asthmatic, she had two previous caesarean sections, chronic hypertension and she was in early labour,” he said.

“While the complainant claims that she gave birth to a preterm baby due to her asthmatic condition, among her conditions, hypertension is well known to be the major cause of preterm labour. Moreover, the complainant does not reveal that she had frequented the hospital since 17 October 2020 because of pre-eclampsia, a condition which predisposes mothers to premature labour.”

Maunganidze said Masvaure actually had to be admitted for long periods of time prior to her last admission for delivery on 23 December 2020.

“The patient is economical with the truth and wants to paint a picture that the hospital did not do much to her,” he said.

He said according to their medical records, besides being premature, the baby had another big problem of respiratory distress syndrome and that was the major cause of admission.

The baby, Maunganidze said, started to deteriorate from day one of life and was put on antibiotics and investigations done.

“The baby continued to deteriorate to the extent that she was commenced on oxygen per bubble CPAP, which is an accelerated form of oxygen administration, but still became pale in colour.

“Worse still, on 28 January 2021, doctors queried Neonatal Jaundice, which is one of the complications associated with prematurity.

“As such, complications of prematurity had set in.

“Her claim that she was told that the baby had no other problem besides prematurity is inconceivable. Furthermore, in her own letter of complaint dated 25 January 2021,Masvaure personally revealed that apart from prematurity, her baby had breathing problems, therefore she does not want to say the truth about the baby’s condition, which predisposed her to complications,”Maunganidze said.

Contrary to Masvaure’s claims that the nurses ignored her concerns for 11 days when she told them her daughter’s leg was swelling after a cannula was inserted, Maunganidze said a cannula was inserted from day 1 of the baby’s birth for fluids since the baby was not feeding because she was very ill.

He said on several occasions, cannulas were inserted and re-sited for antibiotics and fluids either because the cannula was not working or the site was swollen.

“The complainant’s claim that she alerted the nurses about the swelling of the leg but was ignored is neither here nor there because our records show that it is our doctors and nurses who served the developments on the child and took appropriate action.

Maunagnidze said on January 10 2021 at 0837hrs, one of their doctors noted that the major illness of respiratory distress syndrome for which the baby was initially admitted had been resolved and the plan was to discharge the baby after completion of treatment of Early Onset Neonatal Sepsis.

He said at 19:00hrs on the same day, they observed a change of colour on the left lower limb of the baby.

Doctors were called and came at 2200hrs and assessed the baby and gave an impression of gangrene of the left lower limb.

The plan was to consult specialist general surgeons,  but the baby started deteriorating again.

He said two days later, general surgeons ordered the baby to be hydrated and observed for the demarcation of the gangrene.

Following the observations on 15 January 2021, the general surgeons ordered some tests, blood transfusion and parents’ consent for above knee amputation.

The baby was eventually amputated as planned on 18 January 2021.

“The above facts do not point to any form of negligence and the doctors and nurses acted in accordance with the condition and developments of the baby,” said Maunganidze.

Masvaure said authorities had verbally admitted negligence,  but Maunganidze denied the assertions.

He said the hospital offered to assist her while investigations were underway.

As for the prosthetic leg, Maunganidze said the hospital is providing that but could not do it earlier because of procurement processes.

The matter is yet to be heard.