Victims of quack doctor recount their brush with death
Ms Beatrice Telwa, 51, of Ikuywa village in Shinyalu Constituency, Kakamega County, is a worried woman. Very worried.
She has had two operations on her uterus, courtesy of fake doctor Ronald Melly.
Ms Telwa’s daughter, Olivia Jepkemboi, says when her mother fell ill last month, she took her to Kapsabet County hospital.
She said after Mr Melly and other people examined her mother and demanded Sh12,000 for surgery.
“We went through a lot of trouble to raise the money, including selling all our goats and chickens,” says Ms Jepkemboi, who takes care of her ailing mother.
Despite the surgery, Ms Telwa’s health continues to deteriorate. She can hardly walk and complains of constant stomach pains.
Ms Jepkemboi says she was shocked to learn that Mr Melly is a fake doctor because he was well respected in Kapsabet town.
“What pains me is that Mr Melly used to come to the ward to demand the rest of the money without inquiring about my condition,” said Ms Telwa. No official receipt was issued.
The family says Mr Melly claimed he had removed a tumour from her uterus and had sent it to Eldoret for tests.
Another resident, Mr Peter Chalicha, said he became suspicious of Mr Melly last month when he took a relative’s three-year-old son to Meteitei Sub-County Hospital, where the “doctor” had just been appointed superintendent.
“The boy had a wound that had not healed for more than two months. I became suspicious when he applied iodine on the old wound. I tried to raise the issue but he told me off, saying I was teaching him his job,” Mr Chalicha said.
He said he was not satisfied with the “treatment” and took the boy to Kapsabet where the wound was treated. The boy healed and is back in school.
“My suspicion that Melly was fake were confirmed when I read in the Daily Nation that he has been arrested. The ministry should introduce tougher vetting to rid the profession of such quacks who are putting the lives of innocent Kenyans in danger,” said Mr Chalicha.
Ms Evelyn Chepchirchir, 30, from Kapsabet town was also attended to by Mr Melly at Kapsabet hospital in June this year.
Ms Chepchirchir, who runs an M-Pesa shop, says she went to the hospital suffering from fibroids.
“That is when I first saw Mr Melly. He took me to a room and told me he would do an operation to remove the fibrods and it would cost me Sh25,000. I promptly paid and he told me to return after a week,” she narrated.
She says she began to have doubts when Mr Melly refused to issue a receipt.
“I read mischief into this but went away hoping things would go as planned,” she goes on.
Ms Chepchirchir says she went back on June 23 as agreed.
“He admitted me to ward six where I spent the night,” she says. “The following day, I was taken to the theatre and I remember being placed on a table and seeing Melly in surgeon’s regalia. I don’t remember what happened next as he administered sedatives before the operation,” she recalls.
The surgery, she says, went amazingly well. But she says she will now have to seek a second opinion.
“I later learnt he did not even record the money I paid in the official hospital records,” she says.
“I was also told that I had been overcharged as such procedures cost Sh6,000,” she adds.
She said when she demanded her money back, Mr Melly sent her Sh10,000 via M-Pesa.