KNH systemic failures caused botched surgery

Irene Githinji @gitshee

A preliminary report by the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentist Board (KMPDB) over the surgery mix-up has attributed the situation to systemic lapse at Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH).

The board said this affected the functioning of the different professional cadres working at the hospital on the day the mix-up was reported. The report presented to National Assembly Health Committee yesterday, also indicated KNH appears to have had challenges in supply of resources including patients’ identification materials.

KMPDB said identification of patients should be done at the very first point of contact to avoid a mix-up such as this. Glaring gaps were also established on the hospital’s admission process, with neurosurgery patients spread in different wards, which is a potential risk to proper management and follow-up.

“As a consequence, the nurses had improvised and were using strappings which may have contributed to the mix-up of patients. It was noted that at the time, the hospital had identification labels in its stores, though of poor quality and could not explain why the same had not been supplied to the user departments,” KMPDB said.

Similarly, KMPDB said the committee formed to make an inquest over the mix-up has powers to sanction or make appropriate orders against persons they regulate.

However, the committee has no power in law to sanction or make orders against or with respect to medical professionals who are licensed and regulated by other regulatory bodies, in this case the nurses and clinical officers.

To this end, KMPDB CEO Dr Daniel Yumbya accompanied by board member Elly Nyaim, told the Health committee that a Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) will be constituted within the next three days to undertake an inquiry on the role played by KNH and medical professionals involved in treatment and management of the two patients involved, Paul Mbugua Nderitu and Samuel Kimani Wachira.

This PCC is to convene its sitting in the next 14 days and is to call its witnesses on April 4 and 5. Yumbya also said the committee will forward the copy of their preliminary investigation to the Nursing and Clinical Officers Council of Kenya respectively, within the next three days to enable it to initiate an inquiry on the role played by their members in treating both patient.

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