Thandeka Moyo, Chronicle Reporter
FILABUSI District Hospital will be conducting a clinical audit following allegations that nurses turned away five children that ate poisonous mushrooms without giving them medical attention.
The five are part of a Filabusi family of eight that lost four children who died last week after eating the mushrooms.
Three were buried on Sunday at their rural home and another one was buried yesterday at Luveve Cemetery in Bulawayo.
One child remains under intensive care at Mpilo Central Hospital in Bulawayo while two others and their grandmother have since been discharged from hospital.
Filabusi District Medical Officer, Dr Mandlenkosi Nkala, said he was going to meet the family today to discuss a way forward.
“We will definitely do an audit report to get to the bottom of this issue. Initially, I was told that the family sought medical attention on Monday but have since gathered that they all came to the hospital on Sunday though our clinical staff only attended to three of them,” said Dr Nkala.
“The grandmother was unconscious hence there was no one to give a clinical history or explain what had transpired. Nurses then asked the children who said only two of them ate mushrooms which led the nurses to dismiss the rest without giving them medication.”
He said the hospital found out that the dismissed children had eaten the poisonous mushrooms on the following day when their grandmother regained consciousness.
“When we found out, the family was already on its way with the five children and unfortunately one of them died the following day. We then transferred the rest to Mpilo where they were admitted,” said Dr Nkala.
He apologised for the loss of life and assured the public that the hospital would investigate the case and ensure the family gets answers.
In an interview yesterday, the Nkomo family neighbour Gogo maNcube said she had personally taken the eight members to hospital, a day after they ate the poisonous mushrooms.
“I sought help from my two daughters-in-law and we took to the seven children and their grandmother to hospital on Sunday. When we got there they attended to two children and Mrs Nkomo saying the other five children were fine,” said Gogo maNcube.
“The nurses said since Mrs Nkomo could not speak they could only find out the truth about the poisoning from the children. After asking them one by one, nurses concluded that five had not eaten the mushrooms and gave them glucose before asking us to take them back home.”
According to her, the children including one aged one year and nine months denied eating mushrooms out of fear of taking medication.
“On Monday I decided to check on the children as their grandmother was in hospital. I realised that their condition was deteriorating with each passing moment as they vomited continuously,” added Gogo maNcube.
“We then rushed them to hospital again in the evening where one died. I am convinced the nurses were too lazy to further investigate the whole issue hence these children died because their matter was not considered to be an emergency,” she 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 on the following day upon admission to Mpilo.
On March 8, the family lost two children at Mpilo bringing the Filabusi family death toll to four.
Their deaths bring to 15 the number of people who have died so far due to mushroom poisoning over the past few weeks.