30 November 2012

Namibia: Fake Doctor On the Loose in Katutura

A FAKE doctor is on the loose in Windhoek after he caused a stir at the Katutura Health Centre on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The man is suspected to have arrived at the clinic between 15h00 and 16h00 on Tuesday.

Then he apparently slipped into the vacant consulting room of a doctor who is on leave.

While here, the man, suspected to be in his 20s, ‘treated’ between four and five patients and also prescribed medication.

Some of the patients suffered from high blood pressure, while others had bleeding noses.

The patients took their medical cards and their prescriptions to the pharmacy. Here one of the pharmacists became suspicious about the new signature of a doctor that he was not familiar with.

The pharmacist asked around the clinic but no one knew of a new doctor who had joined the State health facility.

Eventually, one of the doctors went to the consulting room and found the fake doctor there. He claimed that he had been sent to the clinic by a doctor at the Katutura State Hospital.

Before clinic staff could find out more about the man, he had vanished.

The police were then informed but the man was nowhere to be found.

To clinic staff’s surprise, the man showed up at the facility again the next day. A nurse noticed him after clinic management told all staff members to be on the lookout for him.

The security guard at the clinic detained the man and the police were called.

It is understood that the man admitted that he had been at the clinic the previous day and that he had treated patients.

Then the man started saying that he heard voices in his head and saw snakes. He also claimed that he did not know what he was doing when he treated the patients.

It was decided to take him to the psychiatric ward at Windhoek Central Hospital. Staff there did not want to admit him without any of his relatives being present.

The man was transported back to Katutura to a house where he claimed to be staying.

This turned out to be a lie, and the telephone numbers of relatives that the man had given also appeared to be false.

He did not show up at the psychiatric ward yesterday with his relatives.

Dr Farid Zam, the chief medical officer of the Khomas Region, yesterday confirmed the incident.

According to him, it is the first time in the four years that he has been working as chief medical officer that he has heard of something like that.

He said the man “manifested clear features of a psychiatric patient”.

It was decided not to have him arrested because “the first priority is to treat him”.

Zam said none of the patients left the clinic with the painkillers the man had prescribed. They were treated by a real doctor before they were sent home.

The chief medical officer said they had informed other health facilities to keep an eye out for the man.

A similar incident took place at the Robert Mugabe Clinic in 2005.

Following this incident, a young woman who pretended to be a nurse received a suspended prison sentence.

Josephine Kalombo in September 2006 pleaded guilty to a charge that she had committed an offence under the Nursing Professions Act when she, without being qualified as a nurse, worked at the Robert Mugabe Clinic from May 23 to July 11 2005.

She claimed that an unfulfilled desire to study medicine prompted her to commit the offence.

She was 21 years old at the time.

Magistrate Sarel Jacobs let her off with a warning.

He sentenced her to a one-year prison term, which was suspended in full for four years on condition that Kalombo was not convicted of the same offence during the period of suspension.

Kalombo was arrested on July 11 2005, after she had been working without payment at the Robert Mugabe Clinic for close to two months without anyone noticing that she was not qualified as a nurse.

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