Doctor testifies in N$2.3 million health ministry law-suit
A Zimbabwean doctor stationed at Walvis Bay has finally come out to testify in the ongoing case in which the health ministry is being sued N$2.3 million for the death of Margaritha Sophia Paula Nghinamwaami who suffered a still-birth.
Her death has been shrouded with allegations of negligence on the part of hospital staff that handled her at Walvis Bay.
Doctor Obey Nhiwatiwa, a health ministry employee between 2006 and 2017 denied that there was any negligence on his part and that of the nurses that assisted Nghimwaami.
Instead, the deceased only attended one session of Antenatal counselling during which she was told that she was sick and should be admitted yet she refused, the doctor told the court.
He reasoned with the ministry’s lawyer that had she been compliant, some of the complications she later suffered after giving birth to a still-born baby could possibly have been avoided.
Nghimwaami’s mother, Milka Lopez has refused to accept the death of her child and is now the one fighting tooth-and nail to have the ministry pay heavily for her death.
However, in ruling out allegations of negligence, doctor Nhiwatiwa said Nghimwaami got the attention of a midwife who even detected that she had a wound in her vagina and sutured it.
He said soon after giving birth, he had no need of examining her since she had already been examined by the said midwife.
“If there had been a problem, I could have come. I was available the whole night,” he said, adding that he was just a meter away from the deceased’s mother.
Yet the court has heard that the patient began bleeding again when she was retired to bed and a nurse alerted the doctor to come assist her.
The nurse Rakkel Shijabuluka, who has already testified, said about 250mls of blood had gushed out of her when she removed the tampon from her private parts.
In his written statement, the doctor said, “When I saw and observed the patient, she was pale.”
Lawyer for the plaintiff, Corrin van Wyk had issues with the fact that Nghimwaami was not replenished with blood between the time the nurse observed the bleeding and when she got wheeled to the theater.
The doctor in response, said he saw no logic in doing blood transfusion to a patient who was losing more blood, and affirmed that she was put on intravenous fluids (drip) and had a 100% supplement of oxygen to stabilize her.
He also hit back at allegations that she suffered a cardiac arrest (a negative change in the heart bit or heart failure) during the time she was under his care.
His reason was that had that been the case, he could not have handled it alone.
“We were in the theatre for over an hour and I managed to stop the bleeding and suture the patient,” he claimed.
He added that after theatre his patient failed to gain full consciousness, although she was breathing on her own.
However her condition deteriorated as she was no more breathing well, with white stuff coming out of her mouth, which prompted the doctor to refer her to Windhoek where she passed away.
What came out during his testimony was that the hospital was under-staffed, as the doctor added that this was the situation with all state hospitals.
He said only two nurses took care of 15 births that day.
He added that the nurses may have taken comfort with the fact that the patient’s relatives were there and thus could attend to other patients.
The case continues in the Windhoek High Court before Justice AJ Parker.