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Medical-neglect baby awarded Sh54 million

The surgical procedure supposed to open the womb in a Caesarean section operation as baby Arthur Jabali Birundu was delivered, was delayed for several vital minutes, occasioning him permanent brain damage.

It has been 11 years since the boy was born with the celebral palsy syndrome after he was denied oxygen for a long moment at the moment of beginning of life.

And yesterday, Jabali was awarded a record Sh54 million to help his mother manage his condition.

The big award may never reclaim for him the full life faculties he lost, but his distraught mother Purity Kemunto Makori at least saw justice granted for medical negligence that denied her son ability to grow independently.

Kemunto will pocket Sh800,000 for the pain and suffering she has undergone since May, 2007 when she was induced to labour and delivered Jabali by C-section at the Nairobi Women’s Hospital.

High Court judge Mbogholi Msagha said medical negligence had been established against the hospital and one of its consultant’s a Dr Mutinda, for failure to live up to Kemunto’s legitimate expectation of proper care and attention.

The two parties had signed a mutual agreement on July 21, 2015 when the hospital admitted 90 per cent liability. The child was awarded Sh8million in general damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenities, Sh18.7million for speech, occupation and physiotherapy, Sh6 million for school fees and Sh2.88 million for personal hygiene.

He was awarded a further Sh3.36 million as cost of medical consultations, Sh9.6 million for medications, Sh7.2 million for a care-giver, Sh3.6 million for adaptive equipment and special damages of Sh631,198.

Kemunto was admitted to the hospital’s labour ward after being attended to by a doctor on May 27, 2007. She had previously attended the facility for ante-natal clinics since February that year.

She had protested that she was induced into labour and left without proper attention in the delivery room, causing her severe physical, mental and psychological anguish.

The aggrieved woman said her labour intensified on May 29 when she demanded to see the doctor-on-call but no one was available until later that afternoon when Dr Mutinda rushed her to the theatre for a CS. As a result of the procedure, the child was born but with severe injury to the brain.

Denied him life

“The condition of the minor is irreversible. He appeared incapacitated. All limbs were immobilised. The blank stare on his eyes was telling. He could not support himself even on the wheel-chair.

He had a slumping head. The court was told he was incontinent in both urine and stool. The injury leading to his condition has denied everything one may call life,” the judge observed.

He dismissed the hospital’s assertions that a huge award for medical negligence would have far-reaching implications. “It should be noted, however, that the plaintiffs would not have found themselves in this situation had prudent and professional attendance been extended to them.”

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