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Hit-and-run accident patient freed from city hospital after 4 months

A hit-and-run victim who has had to spend 112 days after being detained at Radiant Hospital in Pangani over a Sh1 million bill is finally free to go home.

Dennis Omondi, 28, has called the hospital wards his home since April 1, 2020, where he was rushed to.

Omondi, an accountancy student at Kenya College of Accountancy, was hit by a matatu which left him needing emergency and rehabilitative care.

On Wednesday, Amensty International threatened to take legal action against the hospital for illegally holding the patient and on Thursday, the NGO said that he had been released.

“Thank you to all of you who retweeted, carried, and shared this story! We’re pleased that Dennis Bwire Omondi has been released! Receiving treatment should not lead to a prison sentence,” they said.

The bill had piled up after Omondi could not raise the amount that accumulated to over Sh1 million.

He underwent knee surgery and was due for discharge on April 4, 2020. At that time the bill had accumulated to Sh300,000.

“I got involved in an accident and sustained a knee fracture. I was taken into a county ambulance and rushed to a nearby hospital, which happened to be Radiant Hospital,” Omondi told Nairobi News.

He had asked the hospital to give him three months after which he would pay Sh25,000 per month.

“I promised in writing to start paying Sh25,000 a month or whatever I could afford after I recovered because currently, I have nothing. They refused,” Omondi lamented.

He also noted that he had been asked to pay Sh500,000 before being released. In his bank account, he only had Sh21,000.

Amnesty International, after contacting the facility, asked that the bill be slashed to about Sh860,000.

The NGO called on hospitals in Kenya to explore patient-centred mechanisms for debt recovery.

“Unlawful detention should not be normalised by health institutions. The unlawful detention has left Bwire traumatising, depressed and fearful,” Amnesty International Executive Director Irungu Houghton stated.

In 2018, the Constitutional and Human Rights division of the High Court ruled that detention of patients by hospitals over unpaid bills is illegal.