Thandeka Moyo, Chronicle Reporter
MEMBERS of a Filabusi family which lost four children due to mushroom poisoning recently has accused medical staff at Filabusi District Hospital of negligence, leading to the unnecessary deaths.
The allegations emerged as the family buried three of the children in Thandanani village, Filabusi, Insiza District in Matabeleland South yesterday.
The three children are part of eight members of the Nkomo family from Filabusi who ate poisonous mushrooms last week.
Four children died last week, three who were buried yesterday and another one who is expected to be buried today. One child remains under intensive care at Mpilo Central Hospital in Bulawayo while two others and their grandmother have since been discharged from hospital.
The family’s spokesperson Ms Nonhlanhla Nkomo told The Chronicle that the fourth child would be buried today in Bulawayo. She also spoke of the alleged negligence at Filabusi hospital.
No comment could be obtained from Filabusi District last night.
However, according to Ms Nkomo, seven children and their grandmother went to the hospital the following day after consuming the deadly fungi last week on Saturday.
“They ate the mushrooms on Saturday night and our neighbours helped ferry them to hospital the following day. Upon arrival nurses asked the children to indicate if they had eaten the mushrooms as their grandmother could not speak before discharging five of them,” she added.
“The children including one aged one year nine months upon seeing that my mother was injected said they didn’t eat mushrooms and were given glucose. The following day, their condition deteriorated and they were sent again to hospital on Monday night, two of them are being buried today.”
She said they never imagined burying three bodies all at once.
“We are pained and we never thought we would meet to bury three bodies at once as a family. The fourth child will be buried tomorrow in Bulawayo and we are not happy as per her father’s request,” said Ms Nkomo.
Chief Ndube urged people to stop eating mushrooms.
“I would like to advise all of us to stop eating mushrooms, we cannot risk dying, rather we stick to other vegetables like okra. This incident will forever be a scar to the family and we hope they will heal and find strength to move on,” said Chief Ndube.
The area’s councillor Tennyson Ndlovu urged the family to ensure that the girl who picked mushrooms for the family is taken for counselling.
“We have never witnessed such in our lives as our forefathers lived on these mushrooms. I also encourage the family to take the little girl and her grandmother for counselling as this incident may haunt them forever,” he said.
The family ate the poisonous mushrooms on March 3, leading to the death of one person on March 6 in Filabusi and another one the following day upon admission at Mpilo.
On March 8, the family lost two children at Mpilo bringing the Filabusi family death toll to four.
Their deaths brings to 15 the number of people who have died so far due to mushroom poisoning over the past few weeks.
Mpilo clinical director Dr Solwayo Ngwenya yesterday said the child in hospital is critical.
“She is still alive and we have been monitoring her though her condition is critical. We have since discharged the two boys as they had recovered,” said Dr Ngwenya.