By Daniel Nemukuyu
Harare Central Hospital is accused of negligently admitting a violent psychiatric patient in a general ward who later attacked and seriously injured a patient who was recovering from an operation. Mrs Tatenda Majuru, the victim of the attack, accuses the hospital of negligence and argues that the institution is culpable for the injuries she suffered.
She is claiming $100 000 — $25 000 each for emotional trauma and psychological trauma, including $50 000 in medical bills.
She is also seeking an order for costs against the hospital
The hospital and its clinical director were cited as defendants in the summons.
According to the plaintiff’s declaration, Mrs Majuru was admitted at Harare Central Hospital on January 11 this year.
She had an operation on January 13, but she remained admitted in hospital while recovering. On January 16, a new patient was admitted in the same ward.
The new patient was violent and she exhibited signs of being a mental patient
“At around 5.20pm, the new patient came to plaintiff’s bed and started assaulting her on the abdomen and pulling her from her bed.
“The incident was so terrifying to an extent that the nurses who were manning the ward could not restrain the mental patient. The plaintiff also could not restrain the patient since she was in pain. Her operation wounds were still fresh,” reads the declaration.
Investigations, Mrs Majuru said, later revealed that indeed that new patient in the ward was a psychiatric patient who ought to have been referred to the psychiatric unit.
That patient, in terms of the health regulations, was not supposed to share the same wards with other people who are not of the same condition.
“The second defendant (clinical director) being the person responsible for the daily operations of nursing staff, should have ensured that the patient was not admitted in any ward other than the psychiatric one, and as such is liable to what befell the plaintiff,” reads the plaintiff’s declaration.