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Man who sued hospital for negligence loses case

A man has lost a case in which he had sued a hospital for violating his mother’s rights by failing to discharge her for not paying bills.

The court dismissed the case by Mr Isaac Ngugi against Nairobi Hospital, saying he had not proved that Elizabeth Mary Wamaitha’s  rights had been violated.

Mr Ngugi’s contention was that despite the doctor’s recommendation for discharge, the hospital refused to release the woman on account of an unpaid Sh4,051,426 bill.

Wamaitha then remained in hospital until her death on August 18, last year.

The hospital administration denied it wrongfully detained the deceased, insisting that she was taken there by Mr Ngugi who undertook to pay all the bills.

The administration said Mr Ngugi once went there to request transfer of his mother because of the escalation of the bills but later changed his mind and pleaded with the hospital to continue taking care of the patient as he sought funds.

The hospital’s credit control manager, Mr Stephen Kahuki, in his affidavit said no family member came to visit the patient.

The petition sought orders, including declarations that detention of Wamaitha from February 25 last year to the time of her death, refusal, neglect or failure to release her and her body violated the deceased’s rights.

It sought to have any bills claimed after the date of discharge until the demise of the patient rendered unconstitutional.

Mr Ngugi also demanded compensation from the hospital for the loss, injury and violation of his mother’s constitutional rights.

In his judgement, Justice David Majanja said negotiations of the bill which Mr Ngugi had authority to pay, were on the understanding that the hospital would continue to take care of the patient.

“I am afraid that given the circumstances of this case, it cannot be said that the patient was being detained in violation of her rights,” said Mr Majanja.