KENYA:Kidney patient dies after historic transplant at Embu hospital

June 2018 Dailynation; Questions are being asked after a patient who underwent the first kidney transplant at the Embu Level Five Hospital died Friday, about two hours after county officials declared it a success.

Health officials remained tight-lipped after Mr Anthony Njiru Ndwiga, a 39-year old teacher at Karurumo Primary School, died moments after receiving the kidney from his brother, Moses Muriithi.

Distraught family members were trying to come to terms with the loss of their kin, with Embu County Assembly Health committee saying it would summon health officials to explain what happened.


Mr Peter Kariuki, the man’s elder brother, said they were informed of the death on Friday, shortly before 7pm.

Earlier on, at around 4pm, the hospital’s CEO Moses Njue had informed journalists that the patient was in the ICU but “breathing on his own”.

“We were called at around 6.30pm and taken through counselling and informed of the death of our brother. My brother has been having kidney problem for about four years.

“We went to New Delhi, India but the transplant was not carried out because we did not have enough money. We have been fundraising to enable him travel when we heard that Embu was about to start and had experts who would carry the transplant,” Mr Kariuki told journalists at the hospital.


Meanwhile, Embu County Assembly Health Committee Chairman Muturi Mwombo said they would summon Dr Njue together with Health CEC Jamleck Muturi, to explain if the hospital had the capacity to carry out the delicate procedure.

“We will summon them so that they can explain what happened. That does not mean that the hospital was not willing to save [a] life, we just want to ensure we carry out our oversight role so that people know the truth. I thought the hospital is now growing and would be able to handle the matter…after a successful head surgery,” said Mr Muturi.

The landmark procedure was conducted by nephrologists from Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Eldoret led by Dr Phillip Cheptinga together with a team from Embu led by Dr Njue.


The five-hour procedure was witnessed by Embu Governor Martin Wambora and University of Embu Deputy Vice Chancellor Kiplagat Kotut and Embu Health Executive, Dr Jamleck Muturi.

On Friday, Dr Cheptinga had explained that the exercise took long because one of the recipient’s blood vessel had a clot and thus could not immediately sustain the huge amount of blood flow required.

“The donor was in place by 7am and by 10am, we had the kidney and we embarked on transplanting. Some of the (recipient’s) blood vessels had become very thin and thus could not sustain the blood flow,” he said.

A distraught Dr Cheptinga Saturday said he had recommended that a post-mortem be carried out to establish what went amiss.

He said the patient may have developed a heart attack due to narrowing of vessels supplying blood to the heart.

“Personally I was really demoralised because the patient had the capacity to pass urine and when we left, we were told that the patient’s condition changed. My suspicion is that the death is related to the heart; maybe the heart failed. It is a condition called myocardial infarction whereby the heart is functional but all of a sudden there is no enough blood supply,” said Dr Cheptinga.

Dr Njue had said the transplant would open doors for more procedures, saying that 30 patients were already lined up for the procedure.

Already, 109 patients are currently undergoing dialysis at the hospital which has already secured one neurologist from Cuba.


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