UTH staff sued for causing death of a child through negligence

Judge Mallet; Hammer
Judge Mallet; Hammer

A LUSAKA couple has sued the University Teaching Hospital and two of its medical personnel for negligence on allegations that they caused their child’s death in December last year. In this matter, Damien and Sizidia Simui, the plaintiffs, have sued the University Teaching Hospital (UTH), the Attorney General, Dr Mabvuto Zimba and Bernadette Chanda, a nurse, as those behind the death of their three-month-old child, Palisa. According to a statement of claim filed in the Lusaka High Court principal registry on September 1, the couple submitted that their baby was born at Lusaka’s Fairview Hospital on October 8, 2014 with a severe umbilical hernia and was referred to UTH for an operation.


They stated that their child underwent an operation two days later and remained in UTH for two weeks before being discharged. The couple submitted that their child was again admitted to UTH on October 25, 2014 in ward A 02 and was found with malnutrition, a condition that required urgent medication and a strict feeding programme. It was, they submitted, decided that the child should undergo a blood transfusion and a cannula was administered through its neck by Dr Zimba with an instruction that the parents buy Alphare milk to work in conjunction with the medication being administered. “The deceased did not respond to the medication and did not show any improvement whatsoever. Rather, her tummy began to bulge noticeably and her general condition worsened,” the couple submitted further. “A few days of the cannula being administered on the deceased, a leakage was discovered in the region of the cannula when a duty nurse tried to administer medication…the cannula was later discovered to have been broken.”


The statement further read that on December 6, 2014, the child was again operated on and later taken to the Intensive Care Unit in the hope that she would be given blood but that no blood was administered and that no interim life-saving assistance was given until she died. The couple therefore demands compensation of special damages on medical bills, funeral expenses, coffin and transport, among other demands. The couple further seeks the court to order reliefs against the defendants for damages for negligence and loss of life, interest, cost and any other relief that the court might deem fit.