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Top surgeon under fire for saving life

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By Mary Taruvinga


A TOP surgeon, Aaron Musara has dragged Parirenyatwa Hospital to court seeking ancillary relief after he was taken for disciplinary hearing for saving the life of one Shadreck Musekiwa.

In his High Court application Musara said the hospital had no right to take action against what he did.

Cited as respondents are Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals, Aspect Jacob Maunganidze who is Acting Clinical Director at the hospital as well as the University of Zimbabwe (UZ).

He went on to expose anaesthetists at Parirenyatwa Hospital saying they are letting people die unnecessarily.

Musara is a specialist neurosurgeon employed as a senior lecturer in the Neurosurgery Unit, Department of Surgery, College of Health Sciences at UZ.

The college is based at Parirenyatwa Hospital.

According to Musara, the internal Medicine and Outpatient clinics of Parirenyatwa Hospital are inter alia staffed by UZ lecturers and students studying for Masters degrees in medicine.

The specialist clinics include Neurosurgery clinic where Musara provide consultant services as the head and or consultant for the Musara Neurosurgery Firm also called Friday Neurosurgery Firm.

Due to special relationship between Parirenyatwa and UZ, Musara had access to the hospital’s patients and medical facilities.

Musara said he was entitled to conduct surgical operations on Parirenyatwa’s willing patients using its facilities as well.

Narrating his ordeal, he said on June 4 this year, he and his team attended to a patient, Musekiwa who was referred to the department by urologists.

He said they examined him and a decision was made to operate on the patient on the very day.

“He needed an urgent laminectomy decompression of the spine. His case was urgent as his chances of losing his life were very high. His chances of ever walking were seriously diminished if the operation was not carried out urgently,” he said.

He said anaesthetists refused to anaesthetise the patient citing other more urgent cases resulting in the failure to operate Musekiwa.

Musekiwa was put on the list of patients to be operated on the following day.

Musara said unfortunately, the lead anaesthetist again refused to put the patient who was in severe pain to sleep saying they wanted to go for a lecture.

“I explained to him the urgent need to operate on the patient on the day in question. I further pleaded with him to put the patient to sleep to avoid the emotional assault that comes with watching a patient who can potentially recover deteriorate right before us.

 

“He advised that the operation was to be cancelled as he had also briefed his consultant and they had made a decision to cancel the operation. Thus, my plea fell on deaf ears. He walked out of the operating room leaving my team stranded,” narrated Musara.

“With a full appreciation that the patient was only left to the surgical team and no specialised anaesthetic services available, I took the bold decision to administer general anaesthesia upon the patient. The operation was carried out successfully and the patient recovered very well post operation,” he said.

However, pursuant to the incident, the head of the Division of Anaesthesia and Clinical Medicine lodged a complaint with UZ accusing him of misconduct.

UZ went on to establish a committee to investigate the case.

On August 2, he was called to a meeting by Parirenyatwa Hospital with the hospital indicating they only wanted to understand what had happened in the case of Musekiwa.

To his surprise, he was served with a letter by Maunganidze on August 8 in which UZ ruled that what he did was unlawful.

“It is axiomatic that the contents of Maunganidze‘s letter mar my disciplinary record. This is even exacerbated by the threat to use the communication for future reference. I am advised by my legal practitioners of record which advise I take that Maunganidze’s communication is unlawful and irregular,” he said.

Musara said he is not an employee of Parirenyatwa, adding that the hospital had no right to conduct a disciplinary hearing against him.

He said Maunganidze did not afford him time to explain what had happened.

He also submitted that surgeons are not completely prohibited from administering general anaesthesia upon a patients at the hospital.

The case is pending.