KENYA: Doctor fails second time to block fines for overdosing baby

April 2021 BusinessDaily; A doctor facing charges of negligence has lost his second attempt in court to block the medical regulator from penalising him for overdosing a one-year-old baby suffering from epilepsy.

Dr Donald Oyatsi, a paediatric neurologist, had sought an order suspending punishment by the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Council (KMPDC) pending the hearing and determination of his appeal against a High Court judgment.

He reckons the High Court erred by upholding the disputed ruling of February 4, 2020, which directed him to enter compensation talks with the patient’s parent and pay a fine of Sh500,000.

While arguing that the appeal raised serious and weighty issues, Dr Oyatsi said the board’s disciplinary and ethics committee did not accord him a fair hearing and disregarded his evidence. But the Court of Appeal dismissed his application, saying it lacked merit.

Judges Daniel Musinga, Patrick Kiage and Gatembu Kairu said they were not convinced the appeal would be rendered useless the freeze order were not granted.

“The applicant (Dr Oyatsi) has failed to establish how he will be harmed if the injunction is not granted,” ruled the judges.

According to court papers, Dr Oyatsi is among the few specialists in the field of paediatric neurology in Kenya who treat patients with acute epilepsy and refractory seizures.

It is on the strength of this that a parent code named AK, the mother of the minor named as WK, sought his expertise to treat her daughter, who was diagnosed with developmental delay as a result of brain damage at the age of seven months.

During the course of the minor’s treatment, the mother noticed that her seizures were progressively getting worse in spite of the medication.

This led her to seek further treatment for WK at the Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) in California in the United States of America (USA).

While there, the medication administered to WK by Dr Oyatsi were immediately withdrawn and the seizures stopped.

LESS MEDICATION

The hospital also recommended a different treatment for WK, which comprised less medication than what was earlier prescribed to her by Dr Oyatsi.

This prompted the parent to file a complaint with the KMPDC, arguing that the doctor mismanaged WK by overmedicating her in breach of guidelines.

The regulator found the doctor culpable of overmedicating WK by use of four medications concurrently that were deemed not beneficial to her and for failing to comply with its directives at various stages of the inquiry.

The disciplinary committee in February last year directed the doctor to enter into mediation with the parent for compensation within 90 days of the ruling and to pay a fine of Sh500,000 to the council within 30 days of the ruling.

The doctor filed an application at the High Court seeking an order to quash the decision made by the disciplinary committee.

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