I didn’t know it was a bullet wound when I operated on Precious’ baby, Surgeon tells court

A Fairview Hospital general surgeon, who removed the bullet from Precious Mangesana’s daughter’s neck, has told the Lusaka High Court that he was upset after the operation because the people who had taken the girl did not inform him that it was a gunshot wound.

The witness further informed the court that dimension of the wound on the child was less than two centimeters.

In this matter, a Lusaka businessman Nshinka Kaputo is charged with two counts of murdering his girlfriend, Precious Mangesana and acts intended to cause grievous harm.

Kaputo, 34, is alleged to have shot dead Mangesana, a MultiChoice employee, on October 5 last year.

He is also charged with the offence of engaging in acts intended to cause grievous harm, contrary to Section 225 (a) of the Penal Code Chapter 87 of the Laws of Zambia.

It is alleged that on October 5 last year, Kaputo shot his daughter, Naila Kaputo, an act intended to cause grievous harm.

When the matter came up for continuation of trial before Justice Catherine Phiri, Wednesday, the State said they were ready to proceed and called their 11th witness to the stand, Dr Jabulani Munalula, 46, a General Surgeon at Fairview Hospital.

Dr Munalula, who has been a general surgeon for 18 years, informed the court that on October 6, 2017, between 05 and 06:00 hours, his colleague informed him that there was a two-year-old child who had a bleeding wound on her neck and needed assistance.

“He notified me that the child had a bleeding wound in the neck and he wanted me to come in and assist the child. I found the child crying with a wound in the lower right neck,” he said.

Dr Munalula said the child, who he came to know as Naila Kaputo, was with a lady who was identified as her aunt.

He, however, said when he asked how the wound came to be, no details where provided, only a mention of a fight between the parents.

Dr Munalula said he therefore proceeded to the theatre to stop the bleeding.

He added that after washing the wound, thinking it was an ordinary one, he found a deformed bullet inside.

“There was a mention of a fight between the parents and that the child somehow got involved in the fight. Based on my physical findings on the bleeding wound on the neck of the two-year-old, I decided to take the child to the theatre to stop the wound. Once we were in the theatre I proceeded to wash the wound thinking it was an ordinary wound. But on further exploration, the wound kept growing deeper and we found a deformed bullet,” he said.

Dr Munalula said this was unexpected as no mention was made by the family.

He added that this upset him because had he known earlier that it was a gunshot wound, it could have changed his management of the wound.

“We removed the bullet and explored to make sure there were no additional injuries. Then I closed the wound. Because it was a bullet, I decided we needed to do a CT scan of the child’s neck. The scan did not show any other injury and we admitted the child for observation. I was quite upset because I felt the people who brought the child could have told us that there was a gun involved because it could have changed my management,” he said.

“I tried to find the aunt who brought the child but found she was no longer available. We put the child in the custody of the mother’s family and reported the matter to the police. I handed over the bullet to the police.”

Dr Munalula further said the child was discharged two days later in a stable condition.

He disclosed that the bullet injury in that area of the neck could cause major bleeding and potentially death.

“There are several critical structures located on the base of the neck. Blood vessels that go to the brain, right arm, nerve tissues and the lungs. The blast injury from the bullet in that area can cause major bleeding and potentially death. If not identified and removed can cause infection and further complication to the child,” said Dr Munalula.

In cross examination, Dr Munalula said the dimension of the wound on the child was less than two centimeters.

He added that the wound was a laceration or a cut.

Trial continues, Thursday.




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