6 October 2017

Kenya: Cholmondeley Kin Demand His Death Certificate

One of Kenya's wealthiest settler families on Thursday moved to court to compel a hospital where a relative died to furnish it with medical records.

Mr Hugh George Cholmondeley, the Fifth Lord Delamere, sued MP Shah Hospital, Nairobi and its Social Service League for refusing to provide the family with records of Thomas Patrick Gilbert Cholmondeley.

Tom died on August 17, 2016 at the hospital's intensive care unit after a hip replacement surgery.

However, more than a year later, the family has not received his death certificate.

Hugh said operations at the Delamere beef and dairy farms, in which Tom was finance director, could ground to a halt if the family did not get the vital document.

Tom's medical records have never been released and a postmortem report was inconclusive. That made it difficult for his family to get the death certificate.

MENTAL ANGUISH

According to Tom's father, the inability to get the document had caused the family mental anguish.

"The direct consequence of the hospital's unlawful action is that no letters of administration can be taken out in respect of Tom for purposes of administering the estate in accordance with the law and my son's wishes," Hugh Cholmondeley said.

He added that the family had requested the hospital to share the documents with independent medical professionals several times but to no avail.

He also faulted MP Shah Hospital "for violating our right to access the information as well as continuing to subject us to great psychological torture arising from the mystery surrounding my son's death".

Hugh Cholmondeley told the court that he had been denied the right to take out letters of administration of his son's estate.

URGENT

"Unless this matter is certified as urgent and heard on a priority basis, Tom's estate shall suffer irreparable loss as it will be exposed to intermeddling and consequently waste away," family lawyer Antony Njogu said.

Tom fractured his right thigh bone in March 2015 while on holiday in Thailand.

He had a successful surgery there before jetting into the county where he made a follow-up visit to MP Shah Hospital.

He accidentally fell, 11 months after the surgery, leading to a fresh injury to the healing limb.

He was advised to have another surgery on August 17, 2016. But he was transferred from the theatre to ICU after the operation and never lived to see the next day.

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