Newborn baby badly burnt while sleeping on hospital bed as nurses forget to tighten hot water bottle lid


A WOMAN whose daughter suffered severe burns after nurses at Mbuma Mission Hospital in Nkayi district forgot to tighten the lid of a hot water bottle resulting in the water spilling and scalding the minor, is suing the health institution for $50 000.

Ms Bhekithemba Sibanda, through her lawyers Job Sibanda and Associates, filed summons at the Bulawayo High Court citing Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland, which runs the Mbuma Mission Hospital as the defendant.

Sibanda’s daughter, Gugulethu (7) who was then a newborn baby was in 2011 scalded by hot water while sleeping on her hospital bed.

Nurses at the hospital had allegedly placed a hot water bottle on the baby’s bed to keep her warm. However, the lid of the hot water bottle was not properly closed resulting in water gushing out.

Gugulethu sustained burns on the left side of her body and had to be hospitalised for a month at the United Bulawayo Hospitals.

Ms Sibanda accused the hospital of negligence and wants an order directing Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland to pay her $40 000 being damages for her daughter’s pain and suffering and future medical expenses.

“The injuries were caused by the sole negligence of defendant’s employees because they failed to ensure that the hot water bottle was properly and securely closed.

“They failed to realise the real risk or possibility that hot water bottle may pose a danger for a newborn baby and they could have used alternative measures for warmth with less devastating effect hence the defendant is liable as the employer of the negligent nurses,” she said.

The incident occurred on February 11, 2011 soon after Ms Sibanda had delivered the baby through Caesarean section.

“Following the delivery of my baby on 11 February 2011, hospital staff, nurses in particular who were on duty on that day during the course and scope of their employment with defendant put hot water bottles on my newborn baby’s bed to keep her warm.

“One of the bottles had not been properly closed and it opened and spilled resulting in my daughter sustaining burns,” said Ms Sibanda.

She said her daughter suffered shock, pain, suffering, trauma, hurt and third degree burn wounds.

“She had to be hospitalised at UBH for about a month and seven years later, my daughter continues to experience pain on her left side of the body as a result of the burns.

“She also had an ugly scar on her left side,” said Ms Sibanda.

Gugulethu, who is in Grade Two, missed class for the better part of 2017 because of the injuries, which kept her in and out of hospital and she was forced to repeat.

“My daughter suffered general damages in the sum of $40 000 for shock, pain and suffering. I am also claiming a further $10 000 as special damages for future medical expenses,” said Ms Sibanda.

She said despite demand, Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland has failed, refused or neglected to settle the money. Ms Sibanda also wants an order compelling the church to pay her legal fees.

— Chronicle

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