*Botched operation plunges woman’s life into shambles
The pouring rain outside of her rented room is reminiscent of Basupi Leoto’s daily struggles.
Her endless problems began one morning in 2013 when she woke up to find that she had wet her bed like a child.
The previous day Loeto had gone under the knife at Nyangabgwe Referral hospital to have her uterus removed, because of troublesome fibrosis.
That was the day the woman’s dream of leading a normal healthy life was shattered forever.
“I was puzzled and just didn’t understand how I could have soaked my bed with urine,” said the 52- year -old former post office employee.
It gets worse!
When she got out of bed, urine flowed freely and uncontrollably like a river.
Immediately she rushed to the Emergency section of Nyangabgwe hospital, where the urinary specialist confirmed the obvious to her. “ You have a urinary problem,” the specialist said to her.
She told the specialist that she didn’t have this problem before the surgery but that revelation however did not seem to bother the specialist who simply inserted a catheter and instructed Loeto to go back home.
Nursing a fresh operation, Loeto felt depression descending upon her like a dark cloak. She knew she wasn’t going to return home in that state so she plomped herself on a bench, her mind racing as she frantically tried to figure out where she could find help.
“I was at the lowest point in my life. I had no one to turn to! My brother was away on a business trip. In desperation I phoned my area MP and he didn’t answer his phone. But I just could not go back home in the state I was in. After hours of sitting on that bench, wondering who to call, I finally got hold of Francistown South MP, Wynter Mmolotsi.”
Mmolotsi advised her not to move an inch as he called the Hospital Superintendent Dr Tshipiyagae. In a few minutes, Mmolotsi directed Loeto to the hospital superintendent’s office.
With curious eyes staring at her, the devastated woman meekly meandered through the hospital corridors, towards the hospital chief’s office.
“Tshipiyagae had to be called out of a meeting, because urine was now flowing all over from the catheter. Seeing my state, he immediately had me wheeled back to the gynecology ward to be admitted.”
The surgeon, Dr Jedia who performed the operation was asked to find out what had gone wrong.
This was the beginning of a long and painful ordeal of multiple scans and operations and endless lonely weeks in hospital.
“A scan at a private radiology centre here in Francistown revealed I was suffering from Vesical Vaginal Flauta (VVF). The scan results were sent to Bokamoso and Gaborone private hospital, so that they could correct the condition, but they said the damage to the bladder was too extensive”, continued the middle-aged woman, in between sobs.
“I stayed in Nyangabwe hospital for close to four months without treatment and my bladder not getting any better. All the nurses did was change my bedding. What hurt me most though and still pains me to this day, is that Dr Jedia never apologized for his mistake.”
In April 2014, Loeto was finally taken to Pretoria Urology hospital where after at least seven operations her condition improved slightly.
“I now have a tube inside me which I have to live with permanently”, related the 52-year-old who is now a homed based patient at Donga clinic.
I am unemployed, have no source of income and only depend on my brother who pays for this room I stay in. My partner has even abandoned me. No man can stand for such”, she exclaimed.
“Every day I wear pads or napkins like a baby. Throughout the year this is my life. If the clinic runs out of stock of the pads or napkins, I improvise with an old T- shirt or, bed sheet as substitute’s, “cries Loeto.
Subsequent to the numerous operations, urologists in South Africa advised her to remove the bladder and replace it with a plastic bag, which would hang outside her body and she could empty it from time to time when full.
She turned down the offer.
“I opted for the bladder to be mended and made smaller instead, since it had too many cuts. Since then the urine does not flow but drips every now and then.”
Since her return from South Africa, Loeto’s next port of call was the minister’ of health’s office in an effort to be compensated for gross negligence.
“Somolakae who was the Minister of Health at the time, asked me to put my request in writing; which I did. But my request was turned down later after Somolakae left office.”
“I want P1.5 million because before going to Nyangabgwe hospital I did not have this Vesical Vaginal Flauta problem. All this suffering is due to the gross negligence of their doctor.”
A year later, Loeto was called to a meeting and told she could not be compensated because she had signed disclaimer form to be operated on.
They offered to enroll her on the home-based care programme and register her for a P600 monthly food basket since she is also disabled.
“I am appealing to any Good Samaritan who can assist me to sue Nyangabgwe hospital for the pain, hurt and loss of dignity I have suffered to come forth and assist me”, she said
Efforts to source confirmation and detailed account from Nyangabgwe Referral Hospital hit a blank.
The hospital’s Acting Superintendents could only say,” we cannot reveal any information concerning our clients to third parties.
We don’t look at such a request.”
“Our hands are tied. I can’t confirm or deny if there is any truth or not in the matter you are enquiring on”, said Dr Mareko Ramotsababa.