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MPs want patients in head surgery mix-up compensated

The National Assembly has adopted a proposal that compels the State to compensate the two patients involved in the head surgery mix-up at the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH).

The MPs unanimously approved an amendment to the report of the committee on Health that investigated the bungled surgery brought by the Leader of Majority Aden Duale.

PROBE

Mr Duale said that the two patients should be compensated and criticised the Directorate of Criminal Investigations for taking too long to investigate the matter.

“Parliament has a responsibility to ensure that the two patients are compensated and given a second chance to see a qualified doctor to facilitate their recovery,” Mr Duale said.

He said hospital staff involved in the mix-up should be charged for criminal negligence.

Mr Duale wants one of the patients compensated for the risk he was exposed to and the trauma he underwent when he was taken through the unwanted operation that involved opening his head to remove a clot on his

The other patient, will be compensated for the delayed surgery which endangered his life to remove a blood clot in his brain.

Emurua Dikirr MP Johana Ng’eno supported the amendment, arguing that the mix-up that led to the surgery on the wrong patient was “absurd”.

“Mishaps happen. When they happen, those affected should be compensated,” he said.

BOTCHED SURGERY

Last month a neurosurgeon was been suspended for opening up the head of the wrong patient at KNH.

Two men had been wheeled into KNH unconscious.

One needed head surgery to remove a blood clot in his brain while the other only required nursing and medication to heal a trauma swelling in his head, medically known as closed head injury.

However, a horror mix-up of identification tags saw the wrong man wheeled into theatre and his skull opened.

Doctors did not realise the mistake until hours into the surgery, when they discovered there was no blood clot in the brain of the man sprawled on the operating table.

REPORT

In a report detailing its findings on the mishap in the treatment of the two patients, the committee also suggested that there is a need to replace the top management at the national referral hospital.

The committee recommended: “In recognition of the board’s failure to carry out its functions in the national interest, the appointing authority in accordance with the State Corporations Act, constitutes a new board”.

“The new board should appraise the top management,” the committee said, “with a view to placing the right personnel with the right qualifications in these positions.”

From its interactions with the management, the board, the Cabinet Secretary for Health, staff and other people connected to the hospital, the committee concluded that there were problems in almost every aspect of the facility.

SHORTAGE

In its investigations, the committee was told that a job evaluation done at the hospital in 2015 revealed that the hospital had a shortage of 172 doctors, 808 nurses, 62 security personnel and another 414 staff engaged in other sections of the hospital indicating a total shortage of 1,456 staff.

The committee concluded that the systemic failures at the hospital are partly as a result of non-compliance with guidelines and standard operating procedures.

It noted that when the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board looked into the botched surgery it noted that the top management at KNH gave contradictory responses when asked about the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the procedures.

OBSOLETE EQUIPMENT

The problem is not with the human resource alone, the committee said. Nearly half, 45 per cent of the equipment and machinery at the hospital is obsolete.

The Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan is obsolete and its replacement slow because procurement is long, it has one laparoscopy tower machine (it did not have one for six months) and the skin grafting machine is broken down, so doctors have to do it manually.

“Provision of medical services at KNH is severely hampered by lack of crucial equipment. The heart lung machine is not working and the KNH depends on a borrowed one,” the committee said.

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