CATHERINE MUMBA, Lusaka
A THIRTY-FIVE-YEAR-OLD woman of Lusaka has been abandoned by her relatives at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH), with one of her siblings who was at the bedside two months
ago, now claiming not to be related to her.
UTH public relations officer Natalie Mashikolo said yesterday that Yvonne Kasongo is clocking three months in ward E22, and no relative has come through to nurse her.
“Mrs Kasongo was brought here in April by her sister Bertha Kasongo and was later discharged. After some days, she developed another complication and was readmitted,” she said.
Ms Mashikolo said surprisingly after the re-admission, Ms Kasongo’s sister disappeared leaving the responsibility of taking care of her entirely to the hospital and the social welfare department.
“But as per tradition, we normally get the numbers and residential addresses of the next of kin of all our patients. So, we called her sister Bertha, but she shunned talking to us upon hearing that it was UTH on the line,” she said.
Ms Mashikolo said UTH, however, continued calling and Bertha only responded yesterday, but denied being related to the patient.
“It was only after pushing her that she admitted knowing the patient but said she would come to the hospital on Monday to give her side of the story,” she said.
Ms Mashikolo said the social welfare department and the security department of the hospital might be forced to pursue Ms Kasongo’s sister using the details availed to the institution if she does not show up.
She said despite being conscious and making some sounds, Ms Kasongo cannot do anything on her own.
Asked whether the patient is married or has children, Ms Mashikolo said it is not possible for the hospital to have all the details as it only collects particulars of the next of kin.
She said abandoning patients at the institution has become common, which is why there is a policy in place to ensure particulars of the next of kin are preserved.
Another unconscious man who has since been named ‘Elijah’ by nurses at Levy Mwanawasa Hospital has been admitted to the institution for three years now with no relative coming through to assist the nurses, despite having identified him.
Levy Mwanawasa Hospital has been providing for Elijah through a grant it receives from Government.