A parent whose four-year-old childâ€™s eye turned blind after nurses allegedly gave him ear treatment for his eye problem has sued Malawi Government, demanding compensation for negligence.
Siphiwe Nkhoma from Lilongwe, whose child, Miracle Gomani was only about a year old in 2009 when she took him to Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH), also claims that nurses at the hospital abandoned her when she sought treatment after her child lost sight of the right eye.
â€œOn November 23 2009, the plaintiff got ill and was admitted to Kamuzu Central Hospital where he was diagnosed of malnutrition.
â€œOn December 3 2009, the plaintiffâ€™s right eye transformed from its normal to red colour. Nurses at the hospital noticed the plaintiffâ€™s infected eye and the plaintiff was then referred to the eye department for proper treatment,â€ reads an affidavit on the case against Attorney General on behalf of Ministry of Health filed in the High Court at the Lilongwe registry.
It says after diagnosis of the eye on December 4, the child was prescribed two liquid droplets, one in opaque tube and the other â€œwas water-like liquidâ€ in transparent tube.
â€œOn the same day of 4th December 2009, after the plaintiff was administered with the said prescription, hardly two hours had gone, than his eye started discharging milk like liquid and the same was noticed by the hospitalâ€™s nurses.
â€œOn 5th day of December 2009, the plaintiffâ€™s eyes got temporarily blind. The same condition persisted on 6th till on 7th of December 2009. The hospital nurses however neglected to pay early treatment to the plaintiff.
â€œOn or around 7th day of December 2009, the plaintiff was diagnosed by another doctor and the latter discovered that the doctor negligently prescribed for the plaintiff dosage for ear treatment instead of an eye treatment.
â€œThe plaintiffâ€™s prescription was changed to a proper eye diagnosis. Nevertheless, the plaintiffâ€™s right eye got deformed, shrunk and infiltrated inside the skull,â€ reads the affidavit from lawyer Gift Nankhuni.
It says while the child continued to seek eye treatment from KCH after he was discharged on December 16, nurses at the hospital neglected him and could sometimes only attend to his case after attending to all other patients.
â€œThe treatment of the plaintiff by the hospitalâ€™s doctors and nursesâ€¦in the course of their employment with the defendant [government] was negligently done and the plaintiff has thereby suffered injury, loss and damage.
â€œThe plaintiffâ€¦had sustained pain, suffering, injury and loss of amenities as follows: eye deformity, eye blindness, eye shrinkage, permanent deformity, persistent eye discharges for over eight months from December 2009 to July 2010.
â€œFacial expression had transformed from handsome to unattractive, eye itching and persistent cry in occasional nights, continual eye discharges, psychological trauma for being handicapped for lack of another eye,â€ reads the affidavit.
Nkhoma on Sunday said the court has given government 14 days to respond to the claims in the lawsuit, adding the value of the compensation will be determined later.
Ministry of Health public relations officer Henry Chimbali on Sunday said lawsuits to the ministry are handled by the Ministry of Justice, saying he has not yet got information about the case.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General Ralph Kasambara on Sunday said he was in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; hence, he needed to check files in his office to comment on the matter.