Negligence In Zimbabwe’s Medical Practice

JULY 28 marked the anniversary of the death of Lucy Eggy Munemo, a victim of negligent practice in the medical field. Having been admitted to a private hospital (Arundel Medi Clinic) in the afternoon on the day in question, she died at the same facility just before they could transfer her to the Avenues Clinic. Ambulance staff tried to resuscitate her but this was all in vain as she was pronounced dead at the clinic.

By Sam Duma

The medical practice in question was operating on the Rock Foundation premises but had not been issued a permit to carry out medical practice at the site. A report indicates that the facility did not have the oxygen supply for the patient which is what was required for her condition. The attending doctor, Dr Pakkir did not exercise due care as she should have re-directed the patient immediately to a facility that could handle her condition and placed her immediately on oxygen supply on arrival while ferrying her to the Avenues clinic. The death was routinely reported to Marlborough Police Station and CID and the case went cold. The family has not had closure on the matter or compensation as they marked Lucy Munemo’s first anniversary.

Racism and Negligence

This is just one of many incidences that the medical field is facing and the rate of increase in the same is alarming. As in the case above, records attest to the practice not operating legally (HPA) with death attributed to negligence (MDPAZ). The case points to a cover up with evidence being swept under the carpet.

Dr Pakkiri has proven to be an uncaring, wicked and remorseless individual who does not care about the impact of her actions. This reporter is sure there is an element of racism as the deceased was not of Indian or European descent. The treatment of patients who have the means comes into question as she did not exhibit the proactive emergency nature attributed to a doctor.

Element of Unprofessionalism

What is also clear is that there exists some influence on her part and her practice on the MDPAZ, Marlborough ZRP as this case which is clearly a practical example of a homicide case has been closed. Dr Pakkir is a practitioner who lacks the basic tenets of medicine of which empathy plays a big role. She could have consoled the family and assisted but chose to remain aloof as it was an African family.

The need for such Doctors and their practices to be de-registered is real. We are not sure how the same people are granted licenses to open various practice when they have criminal cases pending. A recent visit to the ZRP Homicide has brought some semblance of action as the case has been reopened a year later.

Zimbabwe, like the rest of the world is faced with a crisis of unimaginable proportion as the COVID-19 tests the resilience of health systems in the 21st century. Private medical practice should be leading the field with reports of success in dealing with complicated cases but this is not to be. The case above shows how ill-prepared the nation is for a massive disaster as the coronavirus invades Zimbabwe’s health space.

The treatment of severe COVID-19 requires patients to be hooked up to ventilation systems. These provide oxygen while assisting the patient with breathing difficulties. While the case of Lucy was not related to COVID-19, the likelihood that many deaths will be recoded is real. There are not enough ventilators world-wide to cater for the massive numbers under threat from the virus, even in the developed world. Zimbabwe faces grim times ahead as the imported cases of COVID-19 have now turned to local transmission.

Of Cover Ups and Unprofessionalism

Cover-ups of medical practice must be exposed as the trend is worrying. Criminal charges must be preferred with doctors being banned from practice (as with Dr McGowin) with institutions not fit or

licensed for medical practice shut down. The doctor in our report remains in practice and the institutions still run practices in Zimbabwe. The Munemo family should finally get closure as they grieve their loss while the unrepentant Doctors sued.

In our bid to track progress on the above case, Dr Pakkir refused to comment on the case as she was out of the country referring our reporter to the CEO Mr Deda. The CEO referred us back to Dr Pakkir as he insisted Dr Pakkir and Dr Naik were the parties involved. Mr Deda professes that he is not a clinician.

The two doctors Dr Pakir and Dr Naik are a husband and wife team who are shareholders of Baines Imaging Group and other institutions in the country run. At the time of going to print, Dr Pakkir had not responded fully to our enquiry and her Baines Imaging Group representative served to delay publication of the story. They chose to play cat and mouse with this reporter but in the end justice will prevail.

About the Writer: Sam Duma writes in his own capacity and this opinion is bis personal opinion from the observations he made regarding the issue at hand. Sam can be contacted on +263 773 000 903:

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