MAN DIES AS DOCTOR STRIKE BITES
A MAN (83) suffering from urinary tract obstruction was found dead at a Bulawayo hospital on Friday after spending hours unattended because doctors are on strike.
Patients who suffer from the condition have a blockage that inhibits the flow of urine through its normal path (the urinary tract), including the kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. Mr Patrick Nkomazana from Mpopoma suburb was found dead by his sister at Mpilo Central Hospital casualty ward on Friday morning. Although he had been attended to by nurses on Thursday, he had to be seen by a medical doctor for him to receive treatment. However, none did because of the ongoing strike.
Hospital doctors downed tools on March 1 after petitioning Government to address a number of grievances that include the payment of locum allowances.
In an interview yesterday, Nkomazana’s sister Mrs Belina Masuku told The Chronicle that she spent six hours at the casualty ward waiting for her brother to be attended to.
“I am so heart broken right now and I am not sure if I will be able to get over this. My brother was rushed from Mpopoma Clinic in an ambulance and got at Mpilo just before 1PM,” said Mrs Masuku.
“He was given a bed to lie on, but I left the hospital after 7PM and no doctor had seen him and no catheter had been put to help him relieve himself,” she said.
She said nurses eventually allowed her to leave her brother promising that the doctor would attend to him.
“After sitting for hours watching my brother wail in pain, we had to leave Mpilo. The next morning I was shocked to be told that he had died and surprisingly not even the nurses knew when he had died,” added Mrs Masuku.
“The nurse I talked to said she found him dead while doing rounds in the morning and was not sure when it happened.”
Another affected patient is an 81-year-old man from Tsholotsho who said he has been stuck in Bulawayo since last Thursday.
“I visited Mpilo last year and we were asked to buy medication and a kit to treat my feet. The situation worsened and I was due for a check-up last Thursday so that doctors could advise me on what to do next,” said Mr Spendo Dlamini.
“I have been stuck here since last Thursday because doctors are on strike, my feet are still sore and I cannot help but worry about my belongings back in Tsholotsho as I never planned to spend a night in Bulawayo,” said the octogenarian.
He said he was in constant pain and could barely walk.
“I have incurred costs by extending my stay in Bulawayo and I wish I could just see a doctor and go back to Tsholotsho as I have pressing issues there,” he said.
Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association spokesperson Dr Mxolisi Ngwenya said the strike was still on as they are yet to receive communication from the Government.
“The Ministry has been communicating to us through the media ever since we took industrial action. They are yet to officially and directly engage us and we are hopeful that such will yield positive results,” said Dr Ngwenya.
“The strike is still on and that is all we can say for now,” he said.
Mpilo clinical director Dr Solwayo Ngwenya said the situation had not changed which was heavily affecting patients.
“We still do not have doctors from last Thursday and they have not communicated anything about when they intend to come back to work. None of them has heeded the call by the Minister and sadly patients are the most affected,” said Dr Ngwenya.
United Bulawayo Hospitals clinical director Dr Narcacius Dzvanga could not be reached for comment on the situation at the institution.
In a joint statement issued on Sunday, the Ministry of Health and Child Care and the Health Service Board said the strike was illegal urging doctors to return to work immediately.
Some of the issues raised by the doctors among them locum payments, motor vehicle scheme, availability of equipment and medicines at hospitals and freeze of vacant positions had been addressed.
Government said it had allocated $10 million for transport costs for the health workers who are sometimes required to report for duty at odd hours.