23 October 2018

Kenya: Kilifi County, Hospital Staff to Pay Girl Sh500,000 in Damages

The High Court has ordered the Kilifi government, its secretary and the Malindi hospital superintendent to pay a six-year-old girl Sh500,000 in damages due to medical impropriety.

Malindi Resident Judge Weldon Korir said on Tuesday that the three parties were equally liable for the injury the minor sustained during treatment at the facility.

INJURY

Judge Korir said the superintendent, who is listed as the first defendant, failed to take due care and diligence while offering Intravenous Therapy (IV).

Mr Korir added that the child suffered pain due to the joint negligence of the defendants yet they proposed a payment of Sh200,000.

He also noted that the child, who did not make any proposal on the amount to be awarded, suffered a soft tissue injury resulting in a scar on her head, where hair did not grow.

"The medical superintendent failed to apply the proper medical standards in the circumstances," Mr Korir said, adding "this court cannot turn a blind eye on the scar it saw on the minor's scalp".

"Considering that the wound took long to heal, the ugly scar left after the healing and the psychological impact it will have on the plaintiff, I find an award of Sh500,000 ideal as general damages," he said in his ruling.

WRONG TREATMENT

The child, through her parents Goko Kimani and Lucy Wanjohi, filed a case in 2015 against the hospital employee, the county and its secretary, saying she was wrongly treated in November 2012 at the then Malindi District hospital.

In her testimony, Ms Wanjohi said the IV line was wrongly inserted in her year-old baby's scalp and resulted in swelling.

She said that upon the removal of the line, her daughter lost vision for five days and that a festering wound developed on her scalp, leading to complications.

Ms Wanjohi further said that she sought treatment at various hospitals in the country, thereby exhausting her funds.

"The incident greatly affected my daughter since she could not regularly attend school and whenever she did, she had to put on a cap. Other children kept on touching the affected part so the child became aware that she had an issue," she said.

EFFECTS

Mr Kimani told the court that he was once advised to take his child for specialised treatment in India but opted for the local hospital for lack of funds.

The girl recovered there but her father said that despite the treatment, she remained affected and could not sleep properly at night.

Mr Kimani further said his daughter underwent a lot of suffering and that his businesses collapsed.

"No hair grows at the affected area. I blame the defendants," he said in his court documents.

In his ruling, Justice Korir pointed out that the child may also become a self-conscious woman due to the pain she suffered and the resultant scar.

"The minor may require further treatment, more so in the cosmetic aspect, but expenses such as special damages must be specifically pleaded and proved," he said.

Kenya

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