Three healthcare workers on Monday testified in a case where the State is accusing two female guardians of assaulting a Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) nurse in the line of duty on February 17 this year.
The court learnt that the two women—Esnart Selemani, 53, and her daughter Yankho, 30—allegedly assaulted the nurse, Gertrude Moffat, 26, in Ward 5A as she asked them to leave because guardians were not allowed due to Covid-19 restrictions.
The two women pleaded not guilty to the charge of assault causing body harm contrary to Section 254 of the Penal Code.
In her testimony, Moffat, who was the first witness, told the court on Monday that at around 11am on the particular day, she was taking a blood sample from a patient when she noticed that there were two guardians on the next bed contrary to Covid-19 restrictions which limit the number of guardians to one.
She said that when she enquired from them how they made it past the security guard at the entrance, the two women reacted by shouting at her when she mentioned that their conduct could put lives of patients in the ward at risk of contracting Covid-19.
Moffat said things got heated with the women shouting on top of their voices, pushing her onto an empty hospital bed in the process.
“They tore the nurses gown I was wearing and by then, I kept shouting for help. Some guardians, nurses and doctors came to my rescue,” she said.
Moffat, who was clad in her nursing uniform in the witness box, told the court that despite the ordeal, she continued to work and insisted that she finished attending to her patients. She said she sought medical attention the following day and was given a three-day bed rest as well as medication before reporting to police.
Taking his turn as the second State witness, Bright Wasambo Mwafulirwa told the court that he was among nurses and guardians who rescued Moffat.
He told the court that the two women had forced Moffat’s neck on the hospital bed while pulling her hair and beating her.
Mwafulirwa said that taken to the nurses’ station to explain what happened, they alleged that Moffat portrayed them as being positive for Covid-19 which they did not like.when the two women were
On her part, QECH chief nursing officer in the surgical department, Edna Nkangala, who was the third witness, told the court that after she was notified of the assault on Moffat, they discussed the issue with all parties involved who also turned down the suggestion to report to the hospital ombudsman.
She also told the court that the women denied assaulting Moffat and only admitted to pulling her hair.
After the parading of the three witnesses, police prosecutor Isaac Kadawayula asked the court to impose bail conditions on the women on the basis that normally, police bail has no sanctions.
But Blantyre senior resident magistrate Akya Mwanyongo wondered why the two women, who are not being represented by a lawyer in the case, were granted police bail in the first place when the case is sensitive.
The magistrate revoked the two suspects’ bail, saying they should be attending court proceedings while in police custody.
The case has been adjourned to Thursday when the State is expected to parade its final three witnesses.
During the hearing, officials from the National Organisation of Nurses and Midwives in Malawi were present as were other nurses who were ferried in minibuses to the court.