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Dying to go to hospital

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It has become a rather cruel irony that Zimbabweans now go hospital not to get medical relief but to meet their Maker.

Saturday 23 March 2013 made this patently clear.

Perhaps these are isolated cases, perhaps they are not, but the fact is that were we as litigious a society as America is, many of these hospitals would have gone bust by now, paying out millions to grieving families.

Two men were buried, one in Harare and one in Bulawayo on March 23. I don’t know if it was cruel coincidence to be hearing two identical stories about two unrelated people from the country’s two major cities. And these narratives emerged from two relatives of the deceased, relatives who themselves remain unaware of the tragedy they share as they are from two different towns in Bulawayo.

The sixty-something year old died in Harare after reportedly spending upwards of USD8,000 in hospital bills, with the relatives only to be told that the doctors had all the time been treating a wrong ailment. Obviously if that happens, you die and we always thought doctors know best.

Same story with the 40-something year old Bulawayo man: the doctors had been treating him for something totally different from what was eating him. The family was told after the poor man’s death that he had cancer of the liver – and you get to know this through the death certificate. Talk about cruelty of the highest order.

Perhaps these things are common in the rather abstract and esoteric field of medicine, but when they happen with some “frequency” it does get you thinking what kind of circumstances we are living in that families merely have to accept this and are expected to get on with their lives just like that.

You cannot sue these bungling buffoons and it reminds me of a man who had a wrong limb amputated in the US, but fortunately for him, lived to sue for millions! Surely there must be a way families can get justice for their deceased loved ones. But then I am yet to hear anyone in Zimbabwe who successfully sued for wrongful death!

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