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Hospital to pay man Sh9m for wife who bled to death

A hospital was ordered to pay Sh8.8 million as compensation for the income a man’s wife would have brought into their home before retiring at 60, had she not died.

Justice Hatari Waweru delivered the judgment after Mr Silas Mugendi Nguru sued Nairobi Women’s Hospital for Lucy Njoki’s death on January 7, 2012 after developing complications during childbirth.

The newborn also died shortly after her death.

Lucy was 29, and Mr Nguru’s lawyer urged the High Court to use a multiplier of 31 to determine the value of lost years.

“Indeed she could have worked for 31 years until the official retirement age of 60 years. But due regard must be given to the vicissitudes and uncertainties of life. A multiplier of 25 years would be appropriate,” said Justice Waweru.

Lacerations

He also directed the hospital to pay Sh50,000 for pain and suffering, Sh150,000 for loss of expectation of life and Sh286, 985 as special damages.

According to Mr Nguru, his wife’s death was caused by the hospital’s negligence. 

Postmortem exam reports indicated that she bled after extensive lacerations to her uterus, the judge said. 

The lacerations were said to be unnecessary and that no immediate action was taken to stop her bleeding according to laid down medical procedure.

“This is consistent with the plaintiff’s testimony that the hospital’s chief executive officer explained to him that the doctor in charge could not justify the cause of death.

He added that in his practice as a gynaecologist, he had not come across such an incident,” read part of his judgment. 

File defence

Despite being served with the suit papers, Nairobi Women Hospital did not send a representative in the matter or file a defence.

An interlocutory judgment was entered against it. The hospital has branches in Hurlingham and Adams.