MPILO Central Hospital doctors have been exposed for allegedly attempting to swindle a disabled breast cancer patient by demanding $10 000 for an operation to remove her breasts.
The same doctors are accused of refusing to admit her insisting on payment of the money first. Health experts said the late Ms Phanankosi Dube’s operation was supposed to cost at most $2 000 at a public health institution like Mpilo.
The late Ms Dube (36) who lived on begging and was the family’s breadwinner, died last Saturday while gasping for breath at her home in Makokoba suburb.
The late cancer patient’s family launched an appeal in The Chronicle last week to raise the $10 000 and she died days after three donors had expressed willingness to assist her.
After the publication of her story, a doctor from Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals in Harare, phoned the family and advised that the operation could be done at the Harare hospital for less than $2 000.
Mpilo Central Hospital clinical director Dr Solwayo Ngwenya said the minimum cost for operating one breast is $754. He said since Mpilo is a public hospital, patients are not turned away for not having the money to pay but are instead treated and the issue of payment is addressed later.
He said he could not comment on the $10 000 doctors are alleged to have demanded because the hospital does not charge such outrageous amounts.
Cancer continues to be a threat with over 400 cases recorded annually since 2009, a trend that is worrying and needs urgent attention, a Cabinet minister has said. Officially opening Oncocare Cancer Treatment Centre in Harare on Thursday, Minister of Health and Child Care Dr David Parirenyatwa said cancer cases had been on the increase since 2009.
“Zimbabwe cancer registry data tracks growth in the number of recorded cancer cases. Since 2009, cancer cases have doubled from 3 519 to 7 018 in 2014,” he said. “During this period, no less than 400 cancer cases have been recorded each year; the trend is worrying and needs urgent response.”
Oncocare was established as a response to the new scourge of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), which were escalating at a rapid rate. Various sub-specialties offered at the top-of-the-range centre include radiation treatment (2D, 3D, IMRT) and medical oncology (chemotherapy).
Dr Parirenyatwa said Oncocare was a relevant development in curbing the disease as anyone is able to access the services.
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