Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki has sent Kenyatta National Hospital Chief Executive Lily Koros and director of clinical services Bernard Githae on compulsory leave.
The decision was made after the CS held a closed door meeting with KNH board members.
Dr Thomas Mutei and John Ong'ech will run the hospital as investigations continue into the mishap that led to asurgery on the wrong patient.
“I wish to pronounce that they are both competent professionals and they will support the board," said Ms Kariuki, in a bid to calm fears following a string of mishaps dogging KNH over the last few months.
News that a wrong name tag caused a patient to go under the scalpel for a delicate procedure opened a new battle for the hospital’s CEO, barely a month after she was quizzed by Parliament over rape allegations of mothers the in the facility. Even though she put a brave face and defended the hospital, behind the scenes, calls for her resignations were coming from all quarters, including politicians who felt she has lost control of the largest referral hospital in the country.
The case of a baby who was stolen in the facility two weeks added to the horrifying stories from KNH.
Ms Koros held on, despite calls and demonstrations for her resignation.
Before being sent on leave, the CEO had suspended the admission rights of a Neurosurgery Registrar who performed the surgery on the wrong patient and issued him with a show-cause letter.
The hospital’s management also interdicted the ward nurse, the theatre receiving nurse and the anaesthetist for their role in the mishap.
“The hospital deeply regrets this event and has done all it can to ensure the safety and well-being of the patient in question.” read part of a letter by Koros.
Kariuki said the steps taken by the management to apportion responsibility to people who should have taken measures to ensure the unfortunate incident does not happen was right.
Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union (KMPDU) secretary-general Ouma Oluga, was enraged by the decision to suspended the admission rights of a Neurosurgery Registrar. Dr Oluga said medics should not be punished over what he feels was a management flaw at KNH.
“A surgeon does not do tagging. That should be the work of the institution where the procedure is being done. KNH should take responsibility over their failure,” he said.
The CS said they have engaged an external body to conduct investigations into what is ailing the referral hospital.
With the emerging issues, some have alluded to witch hunt and board room wars that seem to affect the operations of the facility.
Former Health CS Cleopa Mailu alluded to witch hunt during investigations into the alleged rape at KNH, while a section of Kalenjin politicians felt Koros is being targeted by people who are eying her position.
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Kariuki said the ministry will foot bills incurred by the patients in the surgery mishap, since they do not have insurance.