Malawi Health Equity Network blame death of expectant teenager at Thyolo Hospital to ‘drunk’ medic

Malawi Health Equity Network (MEHN) has condemned the unethical behaviour of a clinical officer at Thyolo District Hospital which led to the death of an 18-year-old pregnant woman, Mphatso Phiri, and her unborn baby on an operating theatre table on Sunday morning after the clinician on duty collapsed in a ‘drunken’ suspicion.

Mhen officials addressing a news conference

According to press reports, the woman, who came from Mpaso Village in Traditional Authority Chimaliro in Thyolo District, was taken ill on Saturday and was recommended for Caesarean Section.

However, the clinician on duty Mike Likatho is said to have delayed to take the woman to the theatre as he was not at the hospital at a time he should have been on duty.

It is reported that in the middle of the caesarean procedure the medic collapsed, disrupting the operation. The second clinician was called in, but it was too late to save Mphatso and her baby’s life.

Thyolo district health officer Dr. Michael Mulowa confirmed the incident and said the hospital has suspended the clinician, pending further investigations.

But a statement which was signed by MEHN Board chair Edward Chileka Banda and read during a Press Conference by MEHN Board member Kestings Phiri,  made available to Nyasa Times,  the organisation  has since asked Government and Medical Council of Malawi to revoke his licence.

“We condemn the incident and we are asking Government and Medical Council of Malawi to take action on this irresponsible clinical officer as well as on Thyolo District Hospital. We wish his licence were confiscated so that he should not be allowed to practice in Malawi,” said Phiri.

MEHN also condemned Thyolo District Hospital for lacking systems which deters drunk people to be on duty.

“Thyolo should have systems in place that deters a drunken person from handling patients,” said  Phiri.

Published reports puts Mphatso’s death to 15 the number of women dying while giving birth at Thyolo District Hospital since January 2017.

The medic Likatho has since admitted to have delayed  “for about 30 to 40 minute” in taking the patient to theatre but rejects that he was drunk.

He, however, slept on the job midway the process in the theatre room leading to the death of both baby and the mother in the wee hours of Sunday.

Mulowa also confirmed that the clinician collapsed in the theatre room, but could not say whether he was drunk, saying there are several reasons that can make a clinician collapse in the theatre room.

Maternal mortality ratio for Thyolo District from July 2016 to June 2017 stands at 136 births per 100 000 live births with reporting to hospital late on the side of patients and inadequate staff to manage the growing number of patients are some of the contributing reasons, according to DHO officials.

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