Doctors 'shocked' by Charlene's condition

MARTIN VAN BEYNEN
Last updated 13:19 08/05/2012
george gwaze
Kirk Hargreaves
ON TRIAL: George Gwaze listens to evidence in the High Court.

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Doctors were shocked when they saw Charlene Makaza's lower area, a court has heard.

The High Court at Christchurch is hearing evidence in the trial of George Evans Gwaze, a former vet in Zimbabwe, who is charged with raping and murdering Charlene in her bed in the family home in Bryndwr, Christchurch.

Gwaze, who, with his wife, had adopted Charlene and her sister Charmaine when their parents died in Zimbabwe, allegedly injured Charlene in a violent sexual attack on January 5-6, 2007.

She died on January 7 in Christchurch Hospital.

The defence says Charlene became unwell on January 5 and later died of toxic shock caused by her HIV infection.

Melanie England, a paediatric registrar who helped try to resuscitate Charlene in Christchurch Hospital on January 6, 2007, told the court she joined the resuscitation team about 30 minutes after Charlene arrived.

She assisted in intensive care after Charlene was transferred there about 10am and was present when doctors gave her an internal examination and found an abnormality.

As a result of the examination, the police were contacted and a paediatrician specialising in child sexual abuse and a paediatric surgeon were called.

England said she was shocked at what she saw and felt faint.

It alarmed her and those around her including Maureen-Anne Meates-Dennis, she said.

She did not remember anyone saying the tear was about 7cm, but there was a discussion about what to do about it.
No-one mentioned seeing an injury like Charlene's previously.

In other evidence Susan Wortelboer, a staff nurse, said she first saw Charlene in Christchurch Hospital about 7.30am and was asked to insert a urinal catheter.

After cleaning away a yellow discharge, she noticed an abrasion about the size of a thumbnail and then inserted the catheter without difficulty.

Earlier Dr Fen Moy, the emergency registrar at Christchurch Hospital on duty when Charlene was brought in unconscious about 7.20am, said she was the team leader in charge of resuscitating Charlene.

Shortly before Charlene arrived she had received a call from a general practitioner at the Bealey Avenue 24hr clinic where Charlene was first brought on January 6.

He mentioned when they inserted a suppository, blood had come from Charlene's rectum but she could not recall that he suggested a rectal examination be done, Moy said.

"In the context of near death, that was not a priority for us. Our priority was saving her life."

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She was not told the doctor suspected Charlene's symptoms were due to some sort of sexual abuse.

She was predominantly at the head of the bed looking after Charlene's airway and also examined her abdomen, she said.

Charlene, who was in a deep coma, was given high flow oxygen.

In the treatment team were two other emergency medicine doctors, a paediatric registrar, two intensive ICU registrars and further doctors who arrived as the morning went on.

Charlene was in her care for two hours but she was not involved in any examination of Charlene's anal area, she said.

One initial working diagnosis of Charlene's symptoms was meningococcal septicaemia but given her state, the emergency team was not able to thoroughly examine her, Moy said.

She was aware of some abnormalities of the perineum being discussed after a catheter was inserted into Charlene's groin.

- The Press

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