On Christmas Eve, Mr Paddington Mazhazha of Stoneridge Park, Harare, was both happy and anxious.
Happy that a new baby was on the way as his expecting wife, Mrs Shamiso Mazhazha, had gone into labour.
Anxious that they could lose the baby in its infancy as had happened on four prior occasions.
Sadly, what he had not envisaged was that tragedy would strike early on Christmas Day, taking his wife, too.
“It’s something I had not expected because when we took her to the clinic, she was fine. Besides labour pains, there was nothing unusual I noticed,” he said.
“So, when I received a call from Harare Central Hospital telling me that my wife had been taken there, I was shocked and, instantly, I knew that something was wrong.”
The hospital told Mr Mazhazha that his wife was in a critical condition, after losing a lot of blood.
He visited the hospital the next day, only to be told that his wife had died.
“It was difficult to take because it’s something I had not expected. It was even harder as it happened on Christmas Day when everyone else was celebrating and having fun. Like other couples, we had made plans for Christmas, but it could not be and we spent the day mourning instead.
“We lost three of our other unborn children through miscarriages, another died of yellow fever a few days after birth. This time around, it is much more difficult losing both my wife and the baby,” said Mr Mazhazha as he struggled to hold back tears.
He suspects staff at the council clinic did not attend to his wife on time.
“Right from the time we arrived at the clinic, the staff showed us a very negative attitude. They were shouting, saying all sorts of things and I did not understand why.
“I say so because the explanation we received from Harare Central Hospital was that Shamiso was not attended to on time. The nurse said if my wife had been taken there on time, she could have been given more blood or operated on.
“The nurse also told us that when Shamiso was taken to Harare Central Hospital, her condition was already critical as she had lost a lot of blood.
“I could be wrong, but my appeal is for the authorities to look into this issue closely.”
Shamiso was buried on December 28.
Her father, Mr Mike Mapulanka, said it would be difficult to shake off the grief.
“It’s difficult to take. You would not understand even if I tried to explain. But there is nothing one can do apart from trying to move on because it is something all of us can never be prepared for.
“I know people will tell you that it was God’s time, but sometimes you are left with more questions than answers. All of us, as a family, are deeply saddened by what happened and shall arrange a meeting to agree on the way forward.”
Mr Mapulanka could hardly hide the grief, his eyes fixated on the ground.
For the Mazhazha family, the wound of losing a loved one will take time to heal.
Harare City Council spokesperson Mr Michael Chideme advised the family to lodge a formal complaint against the clinic.
“The post-mortem (report) is given to the deceased’s family, but if they are not convinced, they can lodge a formal complaint with us and the issue will be investigated.”
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