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City hospital fights for right to detain body over Sh17.5m bill

Karen Hospital in Nairobi is locked in a legal battle with a family over failure to release the body of a man owing to a Sh17.5 million debt.

The debt accumulated after Mr Fred Nyaigero was admitted to the hospital’s intensive care unit, but later died.

The hospital on Monday told the court that it is entitled to the money.

The family of Mr Nyaigero had moved to court seeking to have Karen Hospital compelled to release his body, which has been held at the Montezuma Monalisa Funeral Home since last year.

RIGHT TO BE PAID

But the private hospital insisted, through its finance manager, Mr Rufus Ndaini, that it has a right to be paid, just as the family is entitled to have the body.

“In as much as the family is entitled to have the remains of Mr Nyaigero, we are entitled to have the incurred costs paid. It is in the interest of the law to render justice without intimidation, unfairness or partiality,” said Mr Ndaini.

At the time of his death on November 6, 2015, the 37-year-old casual labourer had an accrued bill of Sh17,500,250.92.

UNABLE TO CLEAR BILL

His mother Mary Nyaigero and his brother Benjamin Nyaigero had pleaded with the court to release the body for burial because they had raised Sh1 million and had notified the hospital that they were unable to clear the balance.

The hospital criticised the labourer’s wife for failing to write a letter that the family would settle the bill.

High Court judge Joseph Sergon will deliver his ruling on the row on Tuesday next week.