Three year old girl dies after being abandoned in hot tub by nurse for soiling herself

A THREE-YEAR-OLD girl died after being forgotten in a bathtub filled with hot water by a nurse. The nurse was incensed after the girl, who suffered from cerebral palsy, soiled herself. She opened the hot water tap and put her patient inside before going away, the Bulawayo High Court heard. She returned to find the child close to death after suffering burns. She died two days later.

Yesterday, Tholiwe Moyo, 32, of Matshetsheni in Gwanda, was fined $500 or alternatively six months in prison after pleading guilty to the lesser charge of culpable homicide. She had originally been charged with murder.

Moyo has already lost her job as a nurse at Filabusi District Hospital.

Whisper Mabhaudhi, prosecuting, told Justice Martin Makonese that the little girl had been found abandoned sometime in 2007 and was taken to the hospital. Her parents were never found.

The court heard that on February 15, 2008, shortly after 4PM, Moyo was on duty when the girl soiled herself and it was her duty to clean up the mess and bathe her. The nurse simply turned on the hot water tap and dumped her patient inside without checking the water temperature, he said.

Her lawyer Thomson Mabhikwa said the former nurse was offering the limited plea, and Mabhaudhi did not oppose.
Three year old girl dies after being abandoned in hot tub by nurse for soiling herself
Justice Makonese told Moyo: “The court is satisfied with the assertion by the state and the defence counsel and accordingly you are found not guilty of murder and acquitted. The court has noted that although the victim suffered from cerebral palsy, which also resulted in complications, there is however, moral blameworthiness on your part. You were clearly negligent.”

The judge said Moyo committed a serious crime by failing to look after the infant at a hospital and as a result she would endure the trauma of causing the death of an innocent child for the rest of her life.

“The court does not condone such actions, but because of the sensitivity of this peculiar case, it’s my view that the justice of this matter would be met with a fine. Accordingly, you’re found guilty of culpable homicide and fined $500 or six months in jail in default.”

In mitigation, Mabhikwa told the court that Moyo was a single mother looking after two of her children.

“She’s now a holder of a human resources diploma and looking for a job to fend for her children. A custodial sentence would impact negatively on her school-going children,” said the lawyer.

For the state, Mabhaudhi said Moyo committed a serious crime in a hospital where a degree of care should have been higher than expected.

“The victim suffered in an institution where she was supposed to get maximum care. It’s the duty of the courts to protect victims from people like Moyo. The incident was perpetrated by a person who was supposed to take care of the victim,” he said.

Moyo pleaded for leniency, telling the judge: “I’m sorry My Lord, I was negligent because I didn’t make an effort to first check the temperature of the water before placing the victim in the basin. It was not my intention to cause the death of the victim in any way.”
Source: Chronicle

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