Seven months in hospital without X-rays

19 May 2017 | Health

A family from the Omusati Region is accusing St Martin's Hospital at Oshikuku of unprofessional conduct that has led to their 83-year-old relative becoming bedridden.

The family has lodged a complaint with the Health Professions Council of Namibia (HPCNA) seeking answers as to how the hospital could have admitted Jonas Nehemia without doing an X-ray examination.

Nehemia's son, Silas Emvula, said his father, who is the village headman of Oshiku Shomunkete, fell while gathering livestock on the afternoon of 7 November 2010. He was taken to Oshikuku hospital the following day, where he spent five months.

“He was admitted the day he arrived in the hospital. They only dressed him and nothing else was done. And so he spent five months in that hospital. He did not move his body at all until he was eventually discharged in in April 2011,” said Emvula.

Emvula said the staff of Oshikuku hospital could not provide him with any medical diagnosis or tell him what had happened to Nehemia when they discharged him.

Nehemia returned home, but he was confined to his bed and could not move on his own anymore. Two months later, Nehemia took him to the Oshakati Intermediate Hospital where X-rays were taken.

“We were shocked to hear that the X-ray showed his hip on his right side was dislocated and this is what caused his disability. They told us that it was too late to put it back since it had been dislocated for seven months.

“They said there was nothing they could do since he was Oshikuku's patient and they did not want to take any risks. They only sent him for physiotherapy to be done at Oshikuku hospital,” Emvula continued.

He said that they took his father back to Oshikuku, but nothing was done and his father has been disabled for six years now.

The acting chief medical officer at Oshikuku hospital, Dr Samwel Awe, said they could not locate the patient's record.

“I cannot say anything now since we could not get his medical report in our records,” he said.

Nehemia' 75-year-old wife, Susana Matheus, said it hurt her deeply that Nehemia went to the hospital to get help and came back disabled.

“We had hope at the beginning, but now we have given up. My husband cannot move by himself anymore. I also have to stay home all the time to take care of him.”

Sylvia Hamata of the HPCNA could not provide any further information on how far the investigation has progressed. The Council informed the family that they were waiting for answers from the practitioner at Oshikuku hospital.


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