Medical records blunder, mortuary mix-up rock family
Anger mixed with grief and suspicion amongst relatives of a Serowe man who recently died in hospital after he was twice mistaken for another patient.
The family’s concern that he could have been killed by wrong medication after a mix-up over medical records, intensified when a mistake was further made over the identification of his dead body.
The distressed family of 73-year-old Kebobone Klienboy, a pensioner whose cause of death was put down as possibly toxemic shock – secondary to bilateral pneumonia, are still battling to find answers from Sekgoma Memorial hospital as to how their father’s body ended up in a mortuary labelled as Oliver Moyo, a Zimbabwean man who was at that time still alive and lying in the hospital ward. Moyo had the dead man’s name tag attached to him.
Narrating the story of how the hospital sent them from pillar to post in search of their father, one of the deceased man’s children, Odirile Setlalemore said that trouble started three days after the old man was admitted to hospital with TB and swollen legs.
“It was on the third day that we received the sad news that our father had passed away. When we went to the hospital mortuary to collect the body we were shocked when the mortuary attendant told us that they didn’t have anyone named Kebobone Klienboy.
“ She told us that she had only two corpses and none of them bore the name we were telling her,” said a grieving family member.
Confused and bewildered, Klienboy’s family went back to inquire about their father’s whereabouts from the hospital matron who told them that he was alive and still in the ward.
“When we got to the ward, to our shock and horror we realized that they had tagged our father’s body with Oliver Moyo’s name as we saw the man lying there bearing our father’s name.” Moyo was the same name that got us seriously worried the previous day when we found it written on medical records that were meant to have been our fathers, who to our utter surprise at that time had all sorts of tubes attached to his body, which we found quite strange for a TB patient who was fairly strong just a day before.
When the mortuary mix up was brought to their attention the matron, her deputy and Dr. Phinin apologized for the confusion.
“We demanded a written apology but they refused to give one,” said Setlalemore
The family then demanded a post-mortem which was conducted at Nyangabwe Referral Hospital
“They called us last Friday and told us that our father died of TB but we demanded a written report and that was when doctor Madan from Nyangabgwe wrote with a question mark on the medical card that the cause of Kleinboy’s death was Toxemic shock – secondary to bilateral pneumonia?
The distraught family is however highly suspicious that instead of TB medication, Kleinboy was given Moyo’s medication and vice versa.
“In his medical records there is nowhere where it shows that he had TB medication administered to him,” said Setlalemore who went on to explain that she only took the old man to the hospital because she suspected he may have had TB, since he was coughing and had once worked in the mines in South Africa.
“He did not want to go, but because I was concerned about his health I insisted on it until he reluctantly agreed. He was walking and had no major problems,” recalled the daughter.
At the time of going to press the family was awaiting a full report from the hospital, while efforts to get a comment from the hospital proved futile as their public relations line rang unanswered. Kleinboy was buried last weekend in Serowe.
130 DAYS AND STILL WAITING
This is not the first time for Skegoma Memorial Hospital to be in the press for negligence. In June this year eight patients lost an eye each while one of them later died due to a cataract operation gone wrong. The affected and their families are still waiting for answers from the Ministry of Health as to what exactly happened.
When contacted for a comment on Wednesday, the Public Relations Officer at the Ministry said that they would send us a reply “tomorrow”. Unfortunately this would have been after going to print.