The family of Junior Nashima is adamant he became impaired after a failed operation at the Oshakati Intermediate Hospital last year and they want to know what led to their child’s mental disability.
The family also wants the hospital to compensate their child for the disability allegedly incurred as a result of complication during surgery. They maintain that Nashima can no longer walk, or do much with his hands and lost his memory since the operation.
The 16-year-old Nashima, a learner at Erundu Secondary School was admitted on March 20 with a broken arm after a fellow learner had kicked him to the ground, injuring his arm.
Nashima, who could walk and talk upon admission to hospital, was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) after the operation, where he apparently spent three to four months unable to talk. He was later transferred to ward five until he was discharged in November last year.
“If we know what treatment Junior needs it will assist us to seek the right specialist for his condition, but the hospital has not been forthcoming,” said his mother, Venesia Shomongula
She says what worries the family is that since the operation, Nashima has lost his memory and has not been able to remember anything from his past, nor can he recall events happening around him.
Since then Nashima was only able to attend school the first semester, because he would abscond from school and would be found wandering around the streets; apparently he does not remember anything that he has been taught in class.
“We want to know what happened to our child, because Junior does not recall anything anymore. Even if you say something to him, two minutes later he will not know what you said to him,” said his mother between sobs.
The family accuses medical staff at the Oshakati Intermediate Hospital of not communicating what precisely went wrong, and believe the hospital has done nothing to rehabilitate Nashima mentally. They say the hospital only arranged for Nashima to be physically rehabilitated and pick him up regularly for physical education.
“My child was very smart at school. I could send him to the shops and do chores around the house. Now he doesn’t even play, he just sits around watching TV. Sometimes he would wake up and do laundry at night or just take a bath.
It’s just too painful to see him like that,” said the teary mother as she described the situation of her first-born. “We still do not know what went wrong, why he was in ICU or what treatment they were giving him, because they even made an opening below his throat, but all that was not explained,” the exasperated mother said.
When New Era visited their home on Friday, Nashima said he was 17, not 16, even after the mother repeatedly reminded him that he is 16.
Similarly, Nashima could not remember events prior to or after the accident. According to Nashima he remembers being in hospital, but he does not recall what for. He kept saying, “Ask my mother,” when probed.
Oshakati Hospital Medical Superintendent Dr Josephine Augustinus dismissed allegations that the hospital has not communicated Nashima’s treatment to the family.
Augustinus admitted there were complications during Nashima’s operation, but said all the details were communicated to the family. She further added that the ongoing physical therapy is just the first stage in Nashima’s treatment.
The medical superintendent said the hospital is experiencing difficulties to secure an appointment with a psychologist, because there is only one psychologist available in the ministry of health.
She however gave assurances that the brain rehabilitation is part of the planned treatment and called upon the family to visit the hospital should they still have further queries regarding Nashima’s treatment.