KENYA: KNH sues over board’s award for dead patient

May 2016 BusinessDaily; Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) has sued to block the medical board from forcing it to compensate the family of a woman who died at the facility ‘‘due to negligence’’. KNH wants the court to quash a compensation order issued by the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentist Board, arguing that the doctors’ regulator failed to give the hospital a hearing.

The board last month ruled that KNH should compensate the family of Esther Gathoni within three months, revamp its accident and emergency unit and improve customer care. Ms Gathoni died due to inadequate treatment and negligence by KNH medics for 10 days, highlighting problems Kenyans face while seeking treatment in public health facilities.

The board also accused KNH of failing to refer the accident victim to another facility, given the specialised wards were fully occupied.

KNH accuses the board of procedural impropriety in its assessment, lack of fair administrative action and that the referral hospital was denied the right to be heard.

“We will be seeking for an order of prohibition to forbid the sued party from implementing the decision dated April 21 against KHN’s board by the Preliminary Inquiry Committee… we also want that verdict quashed,” Mr Momanyi said.

“The verdict is unreasonable and irrational because of the fact that KNH is at the apex of the Kenya health sector referral structure, there is no system in place for it to refer its patients to private healthcare providers and since there was no bed at HDU or ICU there was very little that could be done,” the hospital said.

Ms Gathoni was admitted at KNH on March 23, 2015. The family said that KNH doctors did not attend to her on time, claiming that she was not special. The family said it placed the accident victim on the X-ray table despite multiple fractures while KNH technicians watched from a corner of the room.

The deceased was not issued with pain killers, her blood tests were delayed and had to wait for two hours to be moved to a smelly ward on a bed without enough linen. Her oxygen mask was also removed and the family was told that beds at the High Dependency Unit (HDU) were full.

The family said doctors saw he after five days when her condition had deteriorated to the point that she could neither speak nor open her eyes.

“Aunt Esther died 10 days after being admitted to KNH from wounds which should have been treated, she was healthy and vibrant before the accident… incompetent staff led to inconclusive results and time wasting which led to the loss of a loved one,” says a family member in court documents.

 

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