A VICTORIA Falls man has had successful surgery after he was attacked by an elephant which ripped his stomach open while he was admiring a baobab tree early last month.
Mr Obadiah Sithole has, however, been stuck at Mpilo Central Hospital in Bulawayo as he has no money to travel back to the resort town. Mr Sithole, from Chinotimba suburb, was discharged three weeks ago but is still at the hospital.
The 58-year-old Mr Sithole, who has no wife or children, said he did not notice the elephant which was behind a baobab tree.
“I was admiring a baobab tree and I did not notice that there was an elephant on the other side so it lifted me with its tusks and dropped me to the ground. The tusks ripped through my stomach; luckily it didn’t trample me,” he said.
After attacking him, the elephant went away.
Mr Sithole lost part of his intestines during the attack and surgeons had to stitch together what was left of them.
He was transferred from Victoria Falls to Mpilo Central Hospital for treatment where he has recovered enough to go back home.
In an interview on his bedside, Mr Sithole appealed for assistance for bus fare.
“I need money to just go back to my home; I can pay it back if I find someone who is willing to give me. This is now my third week here since I was discharged and I am stuck,” he said.
The acting chief executive officer for the hospital, Mr Leonard Mabandi, said the institution has no funds to cater for people like Mr Sithole.
“It is unfortunate that we do not have an allocation for people like Sithole who will be stranded. The best we can do is to get him on an ambulance that will be coming from Victoria Falls with patients,” he said.
Mr Mabandi explained that years ago there were travel warrants that were given to people in Mr Sithole’s situation but they stopped issuing them out.
“Travel warrants assisted people like Sithole, he would just present it to any bus company and he would be taken to his home, then the Ministry of Transport would in turn pay the company but all that is gone now,” he said.
He also said society has lost its moral fabric as people now care for themselves and are not concerned about helping others.
He encouraged people to make follow-ups on their relatives who will have been admitted to health institutions so that when they have challenges they can be addressed.
The acting CEO said the burden of feeding the discharged patient was on the institution and it was affecting the operations of the hospital.
In another case at the same institution, a woman spent a month at the maternity section after she gave birth but failed to go home as she had no one to collect her.
A source within the maternity ward said she was detained until her relatives were contacted.
“She was discharged with her baby but we could not let her go as the rule states that a patient is allowed to go only when there is someone to collect her, she cannot go alone,” said the source.
She said the person collecting a person from maternity has to produce their national identity card and the details are recorded.
“You collect the patient when you have produced a valid ID because we are avoiding instances where babies are stolen so we keep records for reference sake so that when there is a challenge we have a starting point,” she said The acting CEO also concurred.
“We want to ensure the safety of the mother and the baby so we usually want the husband to the patient, a mother or close relative so that we know they are in safe hands. We cannot just let a patient go,” said Mr Mabande.