NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 5 – Services at the Kenyatta National Hospital faced a hitch Monday as over 700 registrar doctors boycotted work after their colleague was suspended over a brain surgery mix-up.
According to the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists’ Union (KMPDU), the registrars cannot work without being supervised by university lecturers who are currently on strike.
The union’s Secretary General Ouma Oluga on Monday condemned the suspension of the doctor and the hospital’s Chief Executive Officer Lily Koros, describing it as a knee jerk reaction of a situation taken out of context and being blown out of proportion.
“Over the 700 doctors in training who are actually the backbone of people working at the emergency and accident theatres have resolved that from today, they will not be able to work without their supervisors who are also their teachers and because also then the system does not protect them,” he said.
He stated that errors occur and should be dealt with as prescribed by the medical rules and procedures.
“Also we have deliberated on the issue of the suspension of colleagues, the student neurosurgeon. This will not solve the systemic and quality assurance issues at Kenyatta National Hospital. We as the union and the doctors equally condemn the error the incident that occurred and we appreciate the people who brought it to the limelight,” he stated.
While describing the situation as regrettable, Chairman Samuel Oroko underscored the need for proper investigations and proper mechanisms put in place to prevent a recurrence of the incident.
“What has happened is just a tip of the iceberg. KNH is a dead hospital. The system is not functional. We lose a number of babies because there are no doctors. We lose a number of patients in the hospital because there are not enough workers,” he stated.
Koros was sent on compulsory leave last week following the incident that has embarrassed the region’s largest referral hospital.
Also suspended is the officer in charge of clinical affairs, the surgeon involved and a nurse, to pave way for investigations ordered by Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki.
According to Kariuki, the explanation on how the hospital ended up operating on the wrong patient was not compelling, and blamed it on negligence.
The CS named Dr Thomas Mutie and Dr John Ongech in an acting capacity until the investigation undertaken by the hospital’s board is completed, even as the Directorate of Criminal Investigations boss George Kinoti said he will also institute a probe.
Kenyatta National Hospital was in the headlines recently over a child theft syndicate and claims of rape on new mothers.