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City hospital medics accused of killing patient due to neglect

A family in Nairobi has accused medics at the Mbagathi District Hospital of negligence, leading to the death of their kin who they say was in a critical state having been referred from another hospital.

However, the hospital’s medical superintendent Dr Andrew Suleh on Monday told Nairobi News on phone that the patient was taken to the hospital already dead, according to a report given to his office.

But a cousin of the deceased says the late Bernard Odhiambo was referred to the hospital from Mama Lucy Hospital, who stated that they did not have isolated wards for TB patients.

Mr Odhiambo arrived at the Mbagathi Hospital at 11:42am on Saturday.

NURSE ON DUTY

The deceased’s cousin, Evans Oluoch, who was accompanying the patient and his wife to the hospital, narrated a blow by blow account on his Facebook account of how upon arrival at the hospital, he told the nurse on duty that his case was critical and therefore an emergency.

But the nurse told him that they handle such cases only on weekdays and told him to transfer the patient to a bed.

“I did just that, it’s now around five minutes to twelve noon. Next to the bed there’s a seemingly young lady, a Medical Officer, now confirmed. She didn’t show any attention to our patient, an act that pushed me into looking for the nurse I had spoken to earlier. The nurse was outside doing a BP check on another patient, I told her my patient was already in bed. She responded by telling me she’s attending to him shortly,” wrote Mr Oluoch.

Mr Oluoch narrated how after the nurse’s assurance, he went to buy water for his late cousin, as he had asked for water and eaten two bananas near Nyayo Stadium on their way to the hospital.

On coming back, he bumped into the medical officer and tried to explain the situation, again.

‘IT IS NOT CRITICAL’

“I approached the Medical Officer, told her our problem, she asked for the referral letter, tried handing over to her but she just told me to open it up so she could read while am holding it, I did just that then told her ‘this is a critical case, please check on him’, her response was, ‘it’s not critical’ then she walked away to the next room, sat down, started writing some things on a certain file while going through her phone. I followed her, asked her plans on our patient, she never responded but clearly heard me, the old nurse was now back, seated next to her drafting a certain paper as well, I approached her then asked regarding my patient, without looking at me she asked out loudly, ‘doc umeangalia huyo mgonjwa’…. The young lady said ‘ako sawa, nitamshugulikia baadaye’, it’s now around 12:42hrs,” he narrated.

He kept reminding them until 11 minutes later when his late cousin’s wife came to him and said her husband was unresponsive.

Mr Oluoch rushed to check on him while the nurses and the medical officer watched from a distance.

“Tried feeling his pulse, he was gone. I went back to the two ladies, focused on the MO who had rubbished my statement regarding my cousin’s case being critical, told her in a firm voice, ‘I told you but you rubbished my statement, now please go confirm’, I went on to tell her ‘am entirely holding you responsible’, by now other patients and their relatives had gathered viewing my cousin’s lifeless body, his wife screaming, she went with a stethoscope, confirmed what I had confirmed,” wrote Mr Oluoch.

TOOK A PHOTO

At that point, Mr Oluoch took a photo of the medical officer and made it known that he would pursue justice.

“She walked away like nothing had happened, took her phone from her pocket then made a call, people were now shouting at her accusing her of negligence since they had all witnessed. A security guard then walked in, handed over a phone to me, of course I knew what to expect, it was the medical superintendent, by then I had stored one photo on vault while updating one on Facebook…another guard then came in, grabbed my phone then told me to show him the photo{s} I had taken. I went to my gallery, showed him the only remaining photo, I then deleted it, what a fool he was, called the medical superintendent boasting of having completed the job,” said Mr Oluoch.

But Dr Suleh, the medical superintendent, on Monday told Nairobi News that he was called immediately after the altercation, but he did not talk to the relative on phone as alleged.

“We can never intimidate anyone; we are a public hospital. I was called immediately after the relative had an altercation and the doctor informed me that the body (sic) was brought in dead and this is captured in the 24-hour report in my office. I then called the security personnel and asked them to restore order at the hospital so that the doctor could work. I did not talk to the relatives,” said Dr suleh.

COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE

The superintendent added that the complaints procedure was clear that the relatives should raise the matter with the hospital’s administration, which will listen to both sides of the story.

“I feel for the relatives but from the report from the doctor, the body (sic) was brought in dead and that is the information I have but when you ask about the doctor promising to see the patient later, I cannot comment on that as the information I have is that. As a public hospital, I believe in patient’s first and their rights and that is why I am urging that they raise their complaint according to the procedure by informing the board who then write to all parties,” Dr Suleh told Nairobi News.

The deceased cousin, Mr Oluoch has since recorded a statement at the Kenyatta National Hospital Police Post and was called in on Monday by an investigator.