People are raising their voices against a seemingly long silent vice amidst our resilient society – fatal hospital negligence. Very recently, The New Times of June 17 ran a story, ‘District authorities warn hospital management over neglect,’ that I believe piqued all readers.
Fortunately, someone is doing something. But much, much more remains to be done. Nyagatare district authorities warned hospital management over neglecting patients.
They also acknowledged the fact that people had died due to negligence – a fact that should be an eye opener to the unfortunate realities in some of our hospitals.
Closer to home, as was revealed in the story, is that the management at the hospital was accused of negligence at the maternity ward and that many women had lost their lives yet the hospital has enough medical staff.
Was this an isolated case? No! Perhaps the only difference is that authorities down there are up against the horrifying ‘disease’.
Apparently, it is not only happening in Nyagatare. Just the other week, on a gruelling hot and very sad afternoon I attended a friend’s funeral at Remera’s very unpopular ‘Iwacu wa twese.’
What angers me most is that, amidst tears on that afternoon, there were numerous but muted allegations that Evelyn (not real names) died because of doctors’ negligence at Kigali’s CHK.
Alas! The alleged fact, though no one bothered to find proof- which I strongly believe does exist- is that she was not given due medical attention and assistance that she (an expectant mother) deserved, and so she passed away! Of course CHK is not the only guilty party here – the germ is all over – though negligible in some places.
More alarming and saddening during her burial was the revelation that other people had similar heartbreaking stories.
Ngabonziza (not real names) a long-time friend, mournfully showed me his wife’s grave just a stone’s throw away from where Evelyn’s was being prepared.
His wife left a child, two years old now and who will never experience a mother’s care and love, just because someone did not do what he or she was supposed to do – save lives where possible!
From all the sad tales I continuously hear, most of these lives could have been saved if only the doctors had cared enough.
Please let no one immediately jump into thinking and lamenting about wasted tax payers’ money. This goes beyond mere money issues!
Precious human life is at stake. ‘NEVER AGAIN!’ – as every Rwandan knows, should surely encompass valuing life to the utmost.
Every one of us should stand up against this ghastly vice. Authorities, especially, should take the matter in their hands and take necessary but FAST measures. Iinvestigate this evil because that’s what it is, an evil, and save us all!
Not all doctors or nurses out there are culprits, but health service providers in general should own up, take stock of their callousness and do what Rwandans expect them to do – be humane as their profession requires them to be.
Surely, when one goes to a hospital, they entrust their health and safety to trained medical professionals - nurses, surgeons, doctors, and doctors-in-training.
Hospitals should be held responsible for the slackness of their staff.
It is important to note that, even seemingly small acts of carelessness can fatally endanger a patient’s health and this shouldn’t be allowed to continue.
Such carelessness includes medication errors, failure to call a doctor, improper supervision and, failure to treat injured or sick patients.
Serious efforts should be made to avoid nursing medication errors, failure to review for allergies to medication and overdosing – some of the probable mistakes.
This goes hand in hand with not reporting changes in condition, and potential emergencies to doctors plus not timely responding to potential complications in hospitals.
Failure to properly supervise an unhealthy or injured patient as was allegedly the case in Nyagatare hospital should also be clamped upon.
What happened to the so called standards of care, rules and procedures supposed to be followed by hospital staff?
It is indeed natural that errors occur in hospitals, but when the incidence of errors is reported to be alarmingly high, there should be equally alarming concerns.
What about filing lawsuits when some breach of care or procedural rule has occurred in a hospital?
Pertinent authorities and experienced lawyers should help evaluate the circumstances surrounding hospital negligence or else we will all be doomed.