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Family seeks answers after son’s death at Shalom Hospital

Mutheu says that the nurse told her that the weakness could have been caused by the effects of the drugs/FILE

MACHAKOS, Kenya, May 7 – Having a baby be it for the first time or subsequent births offers joy; an unexplained happiness that cannot be equalled to anything, according to mothers.

However, this experience is short-lived when the child dies. The loss of children is a pain all bereaved parents share, and it is a degree of suffering that is impossible to grasp without experiencing it first-hand.

Often, when we know someone else is experiencing grief, our discomfort keeps us from approaching it head-on.

To Jonathan Muendo Musau, it is like life has crumbled after the death of his seven-month-old son Ethan Muendo a few days ago at the now closed Shalom Hospital in Machakos. To him, things are not the same and he is not taking it lightly when told to get back to life or that time heals all wounds.

– How It Began –

It all started at 8pm on Saturday when Ethan Jnr scalded his left hand with hot water from a home dispenser when he was crawling. Jonathan says since it was at night and they saw it was not serious, they decided to sleep but the following morning he advised his wife, Juliana Mutheu to take the baby to Shalom Hospital for dressing to avoid infections.

“Since the burn was not serious, we decided to take him to Shalom Hospital on Sunday morning. He was given an injection to relieve pain. The nurse then washed and dressed the wound but the baby became weak,” said Mutheu.

When the wife reached the hospital that Sunday, Jonathan says she found a clinical officer who assigned her to the patient attendant who by then they were told is a nurse.

At around 10am, Jonathan who is a Machakos-based journalist says his son was given an injection and was told they could go home after being issued with a prescription. But the journalist says his wife noticed something unusual with the baby about three minutes after the injection.

“My wife says the baby upon receiving the injection did not cry and the baby all of a sudden changed. This was abnormal considering the baby was jovial and active,” he said.

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Mutheu says that the nurse told her that the weakness could have been caused by the effects of the drugs.

“The baby started having difficulties breathing and they called out for the nurse who transferred him to another room,” she said.

Jonathan who by this time back home says he received a call from a doctor at Shalom Hospital who directed him to immediately report to the institution.

“I tried inquiring what had happened, asking if my baby was okay but the doctor insisted I rush to the hospital,” he says.

– Death –

Jonathan says he was in shock upon arriving at the hospital to see his wife, sister and mother in-law weeping uncontrollably.

“When I entered the room I found my lifeless child lying on a hospital bed with one doctor standing beside the bed,” he explained.

Jonathan says up to today, the hospital has not given him any explanation over what happened to his baby apart from the prescription his wife had been given when the ‘nurse’ was administering the injection.

According to the prescription that this writer saw, baby Ethan was injected with 2ml Morphine dose. Morphine is a drug usually administered to patients to relieve extreme pain.

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– Post-mortem –

The family of Jonathan has planned for a post-mortem to be conducted Tuesday at 3pm at Montezuma Funeral Home in Machakos Town to give them a chance to know the actual cause of the death of their son.

The post-mortem will be conducted by two pathologists; one private (from their side) and another from the government.

Jonathan who seems to have a stronger heart than his wife says he is contemplating going to court to sue Shalom Hospital for the death of their third child.

“I am convinced beyond reasonable doubt that my son was killed. There is no way you can give a baby Morphine indication. How? Even to cancer patients they don’t receive that high dose. I want justice for my son” he insisted.

”We will learn to pick up the pieces and move forward but after justice is served,” he painfully said.

– Burial –

Baby Ethan’s funeral is slated to take place next week on Wednesday at Mukaa, Salama in Makueni County.

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