8 March 2018

Kenya: KNH Surgery Mix-Up Patients Allowed to Go Home

Photo: Dennis Onsongo/Daily Nation
Samuel Kimani Wachira (left) and John Nderitu (right) were discharged from Kenyatta National Hospital.

At around 4pm Wednesday, two men who were involved in a surgery mix-up at Kenyatta National Hospital were discharged at a time when the facility is facing a lot of questions following the bungled operation.

In an exclusive interview the two patients - John Mbugua Nderitu, 38, and Samwel Kimani Wachira, 37, - told the Nation they were improving since their admission.

"Except for intermittent headaches, I am doing well," said Mr Mbugua who left the facility in the company of his three sisters, while Mr Kimani who was in the company of his older brother and lawyer said: "Mimi niko sawa sasa (I am well now)."


The two men were taken to KNH on the same day, February 19. Whereas Mr Kimani does not remember how he got to the hospital, Mr Mbugua was taken to the referral facility by his sister, mother and his brother-in-law.

This is after one of his sisters, Pauline Njeri Nderitu received a call from a Good Samaritan that his brother had been taken to a nearby clinic following a hit and run accident involving a motorcycle in Kahawa West.

"The Good Samaritan called and described Mbugua to me. I was convinced that was my brother and I immediately organised for how he would be taken to another hospital," recounts Ms Nderitu.

The first hospital that the 38-year-old man was taken to was St Francis Community Hospital in Kasarani where upon doing a CT scan (computed tomography scan), the medics recommended that the family transfers him to KNH as they lacked a neurosurgeon.

Mr Mbugua and his family went to KNH on the same day, February 18, but only got an admission on Monday, the 19th.

"We had a patient card at 11.59pm following a day of hassling," added Ms Nderitu.


At KNH, the doctor who reviewed Mbugua recommended a surgery called craniotomy, as he explained to the family that Mbugua had some bleeding on the front pant of his head and that the blood was clotting hence the need to clear the blood.

Ms Nderitu went on to say: "Upon listening to the doctor, we agreed to sign the consent to take him to theatre. But as we waited, a nurse led us to the general surgery ward where we were later sent back to the theatre downstairs and left Mbugua at the entrance of the operating theatre. The doctor even told us that the procedure would take about four hours."

Meanwhile, the family of Samuel Kimani, who was taken to KNH by a Good Samaritan on the same day Mr Mbugua was wheeled in, want to know who signed the consent form that saw their 37-year-old brother's head opened up in the surgery mix-up.

For days, the family told the Nation, they had not been told details of Kimani's unexpected head surgery.

"The doctors did not even tell us that Kimani had had a head operation. After four days of searching in police stations and nearby health facilities, I received a call from a social worker at KNH that Kimani was there," said Amos Wachira.

By the time Wachira was seeing his brother, who is a cook at Pangani Girls, he had already undergone the surgery and was under 24-hour watch.

"I asked what had happened to him but information was not readily available. All they said was that Kimani had been taken to the hospital by Good Samaritans," said Mr Wachira.

According to Mr Wachira, the information given to the family was that his brother was taken to KNH in a critical condition and was in minimum communication with doctors.


In fact, Kimani himself says he does not recall talking to the medics prior to the surgery.

Both families say that contrary to what the hospital says, they did not see any name tags on their kin.

"A day after Health Cabinet secretary visited, we found them with name tags," said Pauline.

The family through their lawyer are demanding for the medical, saying they did not know the circumstances under which Kimani was operated on.

A discharge summary seen by the Nation read the patient, Samuel Kimani, had undergone a "wrong head surgery."

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