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Kenya: Hospitals to answer why patient spent 18 hours in ambulance

Posted by African Press International on October 17, 2016

EUNICE KILONZO -1 | Monday, October 17, 2016. Nation news Kenya

Two Nairobi-based hospitals will on Monday appear before the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board to answer to three charges each for their delay in offering emergency treatment to a patient who died in 2015.

Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) and Coptic Hospital will appear at the board to answer and defend their actions towards road accident survivor Alex Madaga, 37, who remained in an ambulance for 18 hours because he could not get intensive care services for his head injuries from various hospitals, including the two in Nairobi.

Sunday marked one year since he succumbed to his injuries.

According to Medical Board Chief Executive Officer Daniel Yumbya, the hearing “shall be in camera and the ruling shall be in open.”

The meeting will be attended by representatives of the hospitals and they “may bring an advocate with them.”

The board referred the charges against the two hospitals to its Preliminary Inquiry Committee — the first of three levels of redress — which conducted a preliminary inquiry into the allegations and referred the matter to the Professional Conduct Committee, which conducts inquiries into complaints within counties.


The letter to KNH containing the charges was written on September 28 and signed Dr Jackson Kioko, the registrar of the board and the director of medical services.

It stated the facility received Mr Madaga but failed to transfer the patient or take the necessary steps to provide emergency care and management of the patient under the circumstances of the case and condition of the patient, thus “delaying treatment and care of the said patient.”

The letter added: “[KNH did not] put in place inappropriate systems of work thereby contributing to the delay in treatment and care of the patient.”

Coptic Hospital, on the other hand, will answer to a charge of failing to provide emergency treatment to the patient or undertake the “care and management expected of you as a hospital…notwithstanding the condition of the patient at the material time, in breach of the provision of Article 43 (2) of the constitution.”

The article states a person shall not be denied emergency medical treatment.

According to the family, the hospital asked for a Sh200,000 deposit in order to admit him.


Because they failed to provide emergency treatment, the letter states they also breached “the provision of Chapter 1 of the Patients Charter (on Patient’s Rights) and Chapter IV and V of the Code of Professional Conduct and Discipline (on conducts which raise disciplinary issues and professional ethics and ethical conduct respectively).”

However, the two hospitals can request in writing and cite the reasons that the inquiry be postponed for the board’s determination.

Mr Madaga’s widow, Jessica Moraa, told the Nation on Sunday that life has not been easy without her husband, who was also the breadwinner of his family.

“I still cannot believe he is gone but life has to go on. I want to forget but it is difficult because I need to pay bills and I am looking for a job. I never knew I would survive, but a year later, I have learnt to be without him,” she said.

His family is still waiting for word from the police on how far their investigations had gone in bringing to book the driver of the car that ran over Mr Madaga on Waiyaki Way on the night of October 5, 2015.

Mr Madaga’s family said they were turned away from accessing critical care services from various hospitals in Nairobi until October 6, when he was admitted to KNH, having stayed in a private ambulance for about 18 hours.


According to Mr Madaga’s widow, most of the hospitals did not offer emergency care and others demanded a cash deposit of Sh200,000 for her husband to be admitted.

He died later while on a life support machine in the critical care unit at KNH on October 9, 33 hours later.

The 2016 Health Bill provides that “emergency treatment” refers to necessary immediate healthcare that must be administered to prevent death or worsening of a medical situation.

The Bill states that the ministry of Health should establish an emergency medical treatment fund for emergencies to provide for unforeseen situations calling for supplementary finance.

Private hospitals have an obligation, as required in the Bill, to provide emergency services or be fined Sh3 million.

The Bill further says that any healthcare provider “who fails to provide emergency medical treatment while having ability to do so commits an offence and is liable upon conviction to a fine not exceeding one million shillings or imprisonment for a period not exceeding twelve months or both.”

African Press International, (API)

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