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Parents to sue Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital over death

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Main referral health facility, Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (Qech), has been taken to task over the death of 12-year-old Joel Bokosi on August 6 this year after it was alleged that he was given expired insulin.

The father to the deceased Fosten confirmed that he has hired a lawyer Alex Bonongwe from Churchill and Noris to file a lawsuit against the hospital for the negligence.

Joel was taken to Qech in July where he was diagnosed with diabetes and he was being injected insulin.

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Whenever he was given the medication, the boy used to be sleeping the whole day, according to his parents.

On August 4, he became very weak and when his parents called for the nurse on duty, she brought insulin and asked the parents to inject the boy.

However, before injecting the drug, the parents noticed it was expired and when they asked the nurse, to their horror, the elderly nurse said she had been giving the boy the same insulin.

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“On this particular day, we decided to take a look at the bottle and we were surprised to see that the labelling showed the expiry date of May, and yet this is August. We were shocked to learn that the nurse had been giving our child the expired drugs all along.

“Soon after the incident, the boy started vomiting darkish stuff and yet we had given him porridge. We became suspicious that there was some negligence because the boy was not in a serious condition and we were expecting that we would be discharged,” Fosten said.

An insider at Qech disclosed that there was a highly delegated management meeting over the issue on August 8.

The source, who opted for anonymity, said the management deliberated for about three hours on how they are going to handle the matter before it got to the press.

However, Qech Acting spokesperson Kondwani Chisi denied the allegations, saying the referral hospital’s management is not aware of the issue.

“I have consulted management and they say they do not know anything about the matter, that is all I can say,” Chisi said.

Bonongwe confirmed that he is carrying out legal processes but could not divulge more information.

“It is true that we are in the process of a legal lawsuit but some information is not for public consumption, hence I cannot disclose everything, send me a questionnaire,” Bonongwe said.

But the counsel has not yet responded to the questionnaire which was sent on Friday.

Meanwhile, the counsel is waiting for the results of the tests from the hospital to proceed with the legal processes.

Medical Council of Malawi Assistant Registrar (Professional Practice), Richard Ndovie, said every person who accesses [out] medical care has the right to sue or to complain.

“My advice is that they have to lodge a complaint first to the head of the hospital and if they are not satisfied, they can write to the medical council so that we can do a thorough investigation. During this time, we hear all the parties and come up with a conclusion without bias, otherwise they have the right to follow legal procedure,” Ndovie said.

The body of Joel was buried on August 7.

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