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Govt Hospital Sued U.S.$15 000 Over Assault By Psychiatric Patient

By Robert Tapfumaneyi

The High Court has ordered government run Harare Central Hospital to pay one Tatenda Majuru a sum of US$15 000 for damages arising from an assault committed by a psychiatric patient in January.

She had initially claimed US$100 000, broken down as US$25 000 for emotional trauma, US$25 000 for psychological trauma as well as US$50 000 for pain, suffering and medical bills.

Majuru was assaulted after she was admitted in the same ward with Alice Masaruro who was supposed to have been admitted in the Psychiatric Unit.

“I entertain not the slightest doubt that the defendant, through its team of doctors and nurses, had a duty of care towards the plaintiff,” said Justice Benjamin Chikowero.

“It stemmed from the professional relationship between plaintiff, as a patient under the roof of Harare Central Hospital and that institution through its personnel did not only properly medically care for the plaintiff but also failed to protect.

“My view is that emotional and psychological trauma can be subsumed under pain and suffering, emotional and psychological trauma fall under suffering.

“After considering all the circumstances of this matter, I consider that plaintiff is entitled of US$15 000 as damages for pain and suffering, inclusive of emotional and psychological trauma.”

Chikowero added, “Since the defendant is an institution capable of acting only through its employees, the action and omission of those employees, in the course and within the scope of their employment, would be attributed to the former hence if such delicts were proved defendant would be vicariously liable.”

Documents in this publication shows that after the attack, Majuru lost her job as a secretary in a debt collection company because she is still unable to concentrate properly.

Majuru also says that she tires easily and is confused at times.

She now fears that her marriage is on the verge of collapse because of anxiety stemming from the effects of the assault.

“She is now afraid to be around people and says this is weakening the bond with not only her son but her family at large,” the court papers added.

Source : New Zimbabwe

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