IEBC’s Letangule demands answers over wife’s death

April 11, 2013 3:51 pm


Thomas Letangule speaks to the media at the hospital/FELIX MAGARA
Thomas Letangule speaks to the media at the hospital/FELIX MAGARA
NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 11 – Thomas Letangule was a very different man on Thursday compared to January when he chaired the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Political Parties Disputes Resolution Tribunal.

Then, he had no problem containing his emotions as he sought to calm tempers heightened by the party nominations and neither did he have a problem recalling the provisions of the law necessary to rein in the complainants and respondents.

A little over two months down the line and he struggles to hold back tears and remember mundane details as he is overwhelmed by grief, “I lost my wife Esther in this hospital yesterday. It’s so painful to me.”

As he shared his grief with Capital FM News, Letangule stood on the steps of the medical centre his deceased wife climbed on Wednesday; a health facility he now blames for her being carried down those very steps in a body bag 15 hours later.

“When I saw her in the morning she was fine. She even drove our six-year-old daughter to school before coming here to have her blood pressure checked at eight in the morning. You know pregnant women have to monitor their readings,” he recalls.

At 4:33 pm the very same day, instead of rushing home to his wife he fought his way through traffic on his way to the reproductive health facility after receiving a text message: “We want to refer your wife, pliz call me back.”

He eventually got there an hour later only to find his wife dead, a state of affairs he believes could have been avoided had the health care provider bothered to contact him earlier. “I would not believe that a pregnant lady driving her child to school climbs these stairs unaided then we are removing her here dead.

“It doesn’t seem to add up because if they considered the matter serious, from 8am to the time they called me at 4pm I would have seen to her transfer but how do you keep a patient here until they die? This is a death which could have been prevented.”

According to Letangule, the hospital says they had to induce her labour after which she went into organ failure due to high blood pressure. A procedure, he says, that should not have been carried out in the first place or for that matter without the consent of the family.

“They say they induced her to give birth which was dangerous given the circumstances she was in because a pregnant woman being induced with high blood pressure – I think even medically speaking – that was not the right procedure.”

After inducing her, the baby was successfully delivered and is now under care at the Nairobi Hospital.

When Capital FM News sought to hear the medical centre’s side of the story, we were referred to Clinic Manager Eric Sagwa who they were later said, “was not available for comment.”

Letangule has however sought police intervention after accusing the medical centre of frustrating his efforts to understand the reasons behind the loss of his wife. “From yesterday they have been unavailable for comment but I think now that they saw the police are getting involved, they are trying to give excuses as to what happened.”

The commissioner has also filed a complaint with the Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board who he has also accused of bureaucracy by first requiring him to submit paperwork before they can commence investigations.

Letangule has also ordered that a post-mortem be done on his wife who was 37-years-old, to help put his doubts to rest.

The late Esther Letangule who worked in the insurance industry gave birth to her two-year-old son in the same facility but Letangule says her case at the time was handled by another doctor and he now wants her medical records be released.

Esther leaves three children behind, a six-year-old daughter – who saw her mother last as she was dropped off at school – a two-year-old son and the 1.5 kilogram daughter delivered at the time of her death.


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