It could’ve been a lot worse

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By Black Edward

THE “doctor”, in a white medical lab coat with a stethoscope, marched into the casualty unit menacingly. He had an appearance like some guy you’d not ask the time of day along Kaguvi Street — unfriendly and threatening.

He stared at a patient’s card with a blank look on his face and one could tell there was something amiss… He wasn’t a real doctor, and as far as the authorities could tell, he wasn’t a nurse or a nurse aide either.

He wasn’t even a “quack” — a name given to people who peddle false cures and pretend to have medical skills which they don’t possess.

For the younger readers who may not know the term “quack”, it’s a shortening of the old Dutch “quacksalver” which originally meant a person who cures with home remedies, and later came to mean one using fake cures.

So how did a man with no medical knowledge succeed in masquerading as a medical doctor at, of all places, Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals casualty unit for seven solid months — hey?

This is unbelievable! If it was some kind of a joke why didn’t we laugh? Of course it wasn’t a joke but a sad truth and
no laughing matter — his actions could have resulted in dire consequences.

Yes, sad as the fake doc story is, it could have been a lot worse. He could have caused a catastrophe indeed. What if the fake doc were some dangerous psychopath whose intention was killing all patients? I shudder to
think about it. You may recall that fake Nigerian doctor, Ibrahim Mustapha, who was sentenced to 54 years in prison in Yola, Adamawa State late last year.

It was suggested that Mustapha might have killed 15 people through unprofessional surgeries. The Pari incident is raising questions about security and safety at our health institutions.

Lax security at the institution allowed a bogus doc to “work” and the leadership failed to quickly spot him. The fake
doc wasn’t an employee but he was able to penetrate the system and easily gain access to patients. His case is a version of some sort of an insider threat.

Remember an insider threat is a security risk that originates within the targeted organisation. This doesn’t mean that the perpetrator must be a current employee or officer in the organisation. They could be a consultant, former employee, business partner, or board member.

To deal with inside threats, organisations need to increase visibility by deploying solutions to keep track of employee actions. An organisation can use technology to lure a malicious insider or imposter and gain visibility into
their actions.

Traditional security measures tend to focus on external threats and are not always capable of identifying a threat emanating from inside the organisation.

However, hospital security arrangements must quickly spot any inappropriate behaviour. It makes sense to have all
hospital employees undergo a background and identification check before they start work to make sure they are bona fide, of good character and are qualified.

Every staff member should display an ID badge at all times while at the hospital. Every effort must be
made to make sure hospitals are committed to providing a safe and secure environment for patients, visitors and employees.

In case you missed the media reports, Admire Chisi, aged 25, from Zimre Park allegedly attended to patients and wrote medical affidavits and prescriptions until a senior doctor discovered him.

Between April 2020 to October 20, said the reports, Chisi went to Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals where he misrepresented that he was a medical doctor.

Thankfully, the senior doctor finally apprehended him after discovering some anomalies in his conduct and he failed to produce his practising certificate. Parirenyatwa Hospital then issued a statement confirming Chisi was a fake doctor.

“On October 20, 2020, Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals discovered that the Accident and Emergency Department had been infiltrated by a fake medical doctor who posed as a physician registrar.

“The matter was discovered after our vigilant casualty staff doubted his medical proficiency and made some inquiries. The suspect has been handed over to the police who are now handling the matter,” reads the statement.

The media was also awash with reports of a child who died after allegedly being attended to by Chisi. It was said the child was involved in an accident and was ferried to Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals where Chisi allegedly attended to him before another doctor came and tried to resuscitate him.

In an interview with the media recently, Health Professions Authority of Zimbabwe deputy secretary general Clotilda Chimbwanda said fake doctors were putting people’s lives at risk and should therefore be weeded out.
Chimbwanda said some people had been misdiagnosed or given wrong medication by these unqualified doctors.

“The public must be very careful and should provide us with information so that we bring these fake doctors to book,” she said.

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