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Widower Sues Viva Med Hospital For Negligence In The Death Of His Wife

A widower has sued Viva Med Limited following the death of his wife after she was allegedly subjected to a breast procedure. Viva Med Hospital, its four medical personnel and the Health Professions Council of Zambia (HPCZ) has been sued for negligence.

James Philip Mdala, an administrator of the estate of Agnes Lucia Kaluzi Mdala, his late wife, has sued the six defendants for failureto give him complete and full information about the condition of his wife when she was undergoing surgery which caused her death.

He also cited Dr Akhta Akhtaev, a medical practitioner, Dr Dildora (other namesunkown), medical practitioner, Nasrin (nurse practitioner, other names unknown), Linnah Chibwe (nurse practitioner) and HPCZ.Agnes was aged 34 at the time she discovered a lump in her breast in October last year. October being a Breast Cancer Awareness month, she decided to have the lump examined.She was advised that since she was still breastfeeding her one year one month old baby, the lump could be blocked milk duct.However, Agness in December 2020 went back to the hospital to check if the lump had reduced but it did not.The hospital decided to conduct a lumpectomy as it was the most ideal procedure to remove the lump.

Agnes was told that the doctor would make a small incision along the areola to extract the lump and send it for biopsy.According to Mdala, his wife was assured that the procedure would take approximately 30 minutes and it would be done as an outpatient because it was not a complicated procedure.He said his wife also informed the doctor that she was allergic to tilapia fish, game meat and tramadol pain killer.

Mdala said the doctor asked his wife if she had ever undergone an operation under general anaesthesia and she responded in the negative.He said the deceased after being assured that the operation will go on well went to the hospital on December 18 last year around 13:30 hours for the lumpectomy which was scheduled for 15:00 hoursbut was only taken to the theater after 16:30 hours.

Mdala said after about an hour of waiting for his wife to come back from the theater, he was told that the lumpectomy was a success but that there were complications as his wife went into anaphylactic shock due to a reaction to propofol.Mdala was also told that his wife had a skin reaction as well as a closure of throat which had necessitated her being intubated butassured that she would be fine.Mdala stated that at 17:20 hours, a nurse claimed that Agnes was finally about to be brought out of surgery but he saw that more medical equipments were being taken into the room she had occupied before going for the procedure.Agnes was brought back from the theater around 18:20 hours but her condition deteriorated and later she was moved to Care for Business (CfB) where she died on December 23, 2020.

He has sued the hospital for negligence, saying that his wife would not have opted for surgery if she was warned by the medical personnel about the risk of the procedure which caused her death or certainly contributed to it.Mdala wants the court to declare that Viva Med as a private health facility could not hold a Class A licence for as long as it was not equipped with a functional IntensiveCare Unit.

He also wants the court to declare that the facility could not conduct operations and procedures under general anesthesia for as long as it was not equipped with the complications that arise under the general anesthesia.

Mdala further seeks aggravated damages from the hospital and its health practitioners with interest on any damages awarded and costs.

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