By Staff Reporter
Health minister Kalumbi Shangula has said that he is not aware of the judgement in which the health ministry has been ordered to pay N$650 000 for the untimely death of a 20-year old woman soon after giving birth at the Walvis Bay state hospital. Milka Lopez, the mother of the now deceased Margaritha Sophia Paula Nghinamwaami sued the ministry N$2.3 million dollars for the death of her daughter which she said was the result of utter negligence.
Nghinamwaami died four days after soon after being rushed to the Katutura Hospital when she failed to recover from her condition at Walvis Bay. The ministry was being sued millions of dollars for the death of, who died as a result of vaginal laceration which caused sever bleeding while nurses were allegedly reading magazines, as per a testimony by the deceased’s sister.
Shangula, who said he was out of the country, said he was not aware of the case and the judgement.
“I don’t have the reasons for the judgment yet but the court found in her favour that there was medical negligence which resulted in the death of her daughter and her grand-child. The amount is not what she expected. It’s only N$650 000 but we are happy that the court found in her favour,” said lawyer Corina Van Wyk.
The case had been long floating at the High Court Judge before Justice Parker.
In her pre-trial papers, filed at the Windhoek High Court, Lopez put the blame squarely on the doctor that responded to her daughter, a Zimbabwean born Obey Nhiwatiwa.
Allegations were also that the deceased Nghinamwaami’s still born baby was dumped in a deserted room soon after she gave birth. Lopez had told court that her daughter died due to cardiac arrest which was caused by an excessive loss of blood due to an “untreated vaginal laceration”.
In her particulars of claim, Lopez says her daughter died of cardiac failure as a result of hemorrhage due to an untreated vaginal laceration.
The witness statement of Lopez said: “I understand that death is inevitable in life, however my daughter’s death could have been prevented had the medical doctor exercised the minimum standard of care and skill expected.
What was supposed to be the happiest day of my life turned into a nightmare.”
Another expect, Dr. Nadine Agnew, had indicated that she would testify in court that “delivery of the deceased’s baby and post-natal care was poorly managed and led to the death of the deceased”.
She slammed Dr. Nhiwatiwa for having failed to do his job properly saying that he “never examined the deceased despite the fact that she had given birth to a stillborn baby”. The court has heard that Nghinamwaami developed post-partum hemorrhage due to vaginal laceration in the afternoon after she gave birth and was only given a doctor’s attention at 21:30.
The court has also heard that she was wheeled into theatre after 22:00, by which time she was already in cardiac failure with high blood pressure and severe anemia.
“The deceased was left untreated for several hours before she received adequate medical treatment,” Agnew says.
But the health ministry has always been in the defence with regards to this issue.
The health ministry defended itself against the allegations.
But assisted by Sharen Zenda, council from the Legal Assistance Centre (LAC), Lopez, speaking through a witness statement, told the court that after she arrived at the hospital to check on her daughter on the 12th of February, her daughter was in labour.
She said “everything started getting messy”. She recounted her daughter loosing blood which was unstoppable after she gave birth and added that the doctor was only called in later in the evening.
“He never once looked at my daughter or even asked about the woman who had given birth to a stillborn baby,” she said.
A blood transfusion was later carried out but Nghinamwaami lost consciousness and never woke up and later got declared dead at Katutura hospital.
The deceased’s sister has also told court that while all this was going on, the nurses on duty were “on their phones and some reading what looked like magazines”.