THE family of a patient whose death is believed to have been caused by a medical doctor who operated on him, has accused the Health Professionals Council of Zambia of dragging its feet on punishing the doctor.
The family of Dapson Mwendafilumba has written to the HPCZ, wondering why disciplinary action has not been taken against Dr Francis Manda, a renowned urologist.
Mr Lupiya Mwendafilumba, one of the deceased’s brothers, says in a statement issued to the Zambia Daily Mail that the HPCZ is allegedly protecting Dr Manda by failing to discipline him.
Mr Mwendafilumba accused the HPCZ of deliberately withholding disciplinary sanctions against Dr Manda to protect his career.
He said his family is demanding that the decision of the HPCZ disciplinary committee be released so that justice can be done.
Dr Manda is alleged to have caused the death of Mr Mwendafilumba when he conducted an operation which later led to a complication.
Dr Manda conducted the operation on Mr Mwendafilumba in January 2009 at Lusaka Trust Hospital.
Mr Mwendafilumba’s family says Dr Manda took six hours to conduct an operation that should normally have lasted two hours.
In a letter dated October 9, 2009 to Dr Manda captioned `Outcome of the disciplinary committee meeting’, the HPCZ admits that there was error in judgement on the part of Dr Manda in conducting the operation.
HPCZ registrar Mary Zulu said in the letter that Dr Manda had ‘failed to respond to a warning of physical signs of abdominal distention’ Mr Mwendafilumba had during the operation.
Dr Zulu states in the letter that Dr Manda had decided to continue with the operation even after Mr Mwendafilumba had shown physical signs of abdominal distension.
The HPCZ disciplinary committee held on September 16, 2009 found Dr Manda wanting. It cautioned and “postponed” him for a period of 12 months.
“Reference is made to the complaint made against you in which you were alleged to have failed to respond to a physical sign of abdominal distension which Mr Dapson Mwendafilumba had but continued with the same treatment. The disciplinary committee meeting held on September 16, 2009 resolved that you be cautioned and postponed for a period not exceeding one year,” Dr Zulu said in the letter to Dr Manda.
Asked to comment on the family’s letter, Dr Zulu said she would make a comprehensive reaction to the allegations after formal communication from the Mwendafilumba family.
Dr Zulu said she needs to look at the letter from the family of Mr Mwendafilumba before she can make any official comment on the matter.
“Dr Francis Manda in January 2009 operated single-handedly on our brother Dapson Mwendafilumba at Lusaka Trust Hospital who died two months later in South Africa of sepsis, arising from post operative complications,” Mr Mwendafilumba said.
When contacted for a comment, Dr Manda demanded to talk to the Zambia Daily Mail managing director or the Ministry of Health permanent secretary.
Management at the Lusaka Trust Hospital could not confirm the concerns because the chief executive officer, a DrSiwale, was out of office.
[Zambia Daily Mail]