By Dr Masimba Mavaza
Patience and their family members are facing the horrors of mounting bills and poor care quality.
A heart wrenching story unfolded in the social media. A man believed to be suffering from Corona virus recorded himself before he died. His story reveals the cruelty Covid patients are facing in our hospitals despite the exhobitant extortionate bills they are forced to pay.
The man in his last painful audio complaints about the nurses who have not taken care of them. They are just dumped and condemned to die in their beds. He courageously took a photo of another COVID patient who had fallen from his bed and coiled on the floor in agony.
Nurses and health care workers have taken advantage of the fact that visitors are not allowed to visit patients in Covid wards. The patients are then left at the mercy of some evil nurses who treat them like they are condemned killers.
Our health system in Zimbabwe does not have guidance for clinically extremely vulnerable individuals with COVID-19. Again there is no control actions for GPs who are the first port of call for Corona virus sufferers.
Zimbabwe is very grateful for the considerable work nurses and health workers have undertaken over the last year to identify, notify and care for people who are clinically extremely vulnerable and having COVID-19.
Many Private Hospitals have not laid down support available for people who are clinically extremely vulnerable. In the process hospitals have not identified groups of people who should now be considered as clinically extremely vulnerable to COVID-19. In the absence of this due diligence a lot of people are exposed to COVID 19.
With all due respect to our hard working ministry of health nobody has highlighted the urgency of clinicians completing the process of reviewing – and, where appropriate, taking measures in protecting patients who are admitted in the Covid wards.
We know this is an extremely challenging time for practices and hospitals but, given the vulnerable nature of those admitted with COVID-19 the ministry must activate its supervisory role in dealing with those who are admitting Covid patients. Given the detrimental impact to health worker’s wellbeing of following unnecessary additional restrictions, it is important that the nurses be trained in this new care of the victims of COVID 19.
We all need to work to identity and support our patients at greatest risk in all hospitals and private clinics. Patient neglect is an issue of increasing public concern yet remains poorly understood.
Patient neglect is found to have two aspects. First, procedure neglect, which refers to failures of healthcare staff to achieve objective standards of care. Second, caring neglect, which refers to behaviours that lead patients and observers to believe that staff have uncaring attitudes.
The perceived frequency of neglectful behaviour varies by observer. Patients and their family members are more likely to report neglect than healthcare staff, and nurses are more likely to report on the neglectful behaviours of other nurses than on their own behaviour. The causes of patient neglect frequently relate to organisational factors (e.g. high workloads that constrain the behaviours of healthcare staff, burnout), and the relationship between carers and patients.
Despite the risk the health workers are exposed to it is highly cruel that they accept these patients then they neglect them.
Another family described how their beloved father died in one of the very expensive private Corona wards. The father was admitted at around seven in the morning. From the time he was admitted not even a single nurse attended to him. He died four hours later.
The relatives were only informed the following day when they insisted that they want to bring him some pyjamas to change. Another nurse narrated the story in confidence.
Despite the funds they pay in fees the treatment given to the COVID-19 patience is horrible and inhuman.
Covid patients are left without food or water, wounds left open and dressings unchanged, patients are unwashed, there is woefully inadequate toileting leaving people soaked in urine or lying in faeces, lack of pain relief, incorrect medication, people left on the floor after falling. Said another nurse who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The nurse outlines this “callous
treatment of the Covid patients and shows what many families have known and complained about since the beginning of the pandemic.
Established discharge procedures are also regularly flouted, leaving patients trapped in the blame game between the accounts department and the nurses in-charge. Yet not one single member of staff in any of the hospitals concerned has been sacked or even disciplined. These are surely cases of culpable HOMICIDE at the very least. Patient neglect in hospitals is more common than most care to admit.
It happens intentionally and unintentionally, even in top-quality hospitals where resources can still become stretched and staff can be stressed.
Hospital neglect can lead to injury, unnecessary extra treatment, disability, or even death. Unfortunately, millions of cases go unreported each year.
However, that doesn’t mean we can’t learn from the mistakes that are made in looking after the welfare of patients.
There are a few tell-tale signs that you can look out for when visiting people in hospital. Some of these may not be immediately apparent unless you are actively looking out for them.
To make it easier for you, we’ve identified the three leading symptoms of hospital neglect. As we continue through the coronavirus pandemic, our healthcare system remains under immense pressure due to Covid-19. So a lot of private COVID-19 carers have come up.
A long and difficult winter comes to an end Corona still lies ahead for our country, our healthcare system, and thousands of patients with other life affecting conditions.
We may finally be getting a grip on Covid-19, but the impact on the nation’s health has unfortunately stretched far beyond our expectations.
Throughout the pandemic outbreak coronavirus patients who have needed specialist care have not benefitted from treatment but they endured trial and error. Whilst the daily figures on death rates from coronavirus have been published for us all to consider, the longer term impact for those who have died due to negligence is still to unfold and become clear.
Each day patients are being treated badly in clinics hospitals and in private clinics.
Why is the ministry of health not seeing what is happening and intervene? How are the private clinics able to gain foundation status while clinical standards are so poor? Why is the ministry not putting pressure on the regulatory bodies to act sooner and to investigate a clinic whose mortality rate had been significantly higher than the average. The public deserve answers.
Many people dying in hospitals and clinics is due to negligence and not CORONA.