5 month old loses arm: medical negligence

Written by  Gladys Nthenda

A five month old baby boy has had his limb removed following complications in treatment at the Kamuzu Central Hospital in Lilongwe.

Disturbed mother Alinafe feeding her child Disturbed mother Alinafe feeding her child

According to hospital authorities, the baby David John has been at the hospital since April 1st this year when he checked in with diarrhea, vomiting and high fever.

On the fateful day, the nurse on duty tried to locate the baby’s vein but had problems and when she went to look for assistance the nurse forgot an instrument called tourniquet on David’s arm overnight, (The device aids in the process of vein identification on the arm).


This resulted in complications which sent Baby David to the emergency room as his whole arm was swollen, became unresponsive and developed an infection.

A surgical team was called in on April 3rd and decided the only safe solution was to amputate the toddler's limb.


33 year old Alinafe John, mother of the child who looked visibly confused throughout an interview with MBC, could not explain much on what exactly happened.

“Am just waiting for them to tell me what to do, I don’t know what type of help to expect from the hospital. I am only waiting for my baby to recover so that I can go home.” said the disturbed mother.

Minister of Health Dr. Jean Kalilani, who visited the facility to get first hand information on the matter expressed sadness over the incident which she acknowledged, might dent the image of the hospital and health workers in general.

Kaliani who gave the baby’s mother K20,000 to meet her basic needs, apologized to the family on behalf of the Ministry.

She further acknowledged that the incident could have been avoided and that her Ministry will make sure accidents like such don’t happen.

“It is sad that he has lost an arm but we are still waiting for a full report on how this happened and when the report comes out, we will follow up the Medical Council of Malawi and Nurses Midwives Council on how to handle the situation”. Kalilani said.

She explained that the incident should be a lesson to health workers especially when handling children to take extra care.

Kalilani promised that the Ministry will do everything in its power to get the facts of the situation and that appropriate action be meted to those involved.

KCH Hospital Director Dr. Jonathan Ng’oma pointed out that management will hold a meeting with clinicians and nurses to find out the truth of the matter as a measure to guard against a repeat of the incident.


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