Nairobi Women sues ICEA insurance over Sh 54 million medical negligence case

A section of Nairobi Women's Hospital in Ongata Rongai. [David Njaaga/Standard]
Nairobi Women Hospital and Insurance firm ICEA Lion are tussling in court over Sh54 million compensation awarded to a patient in a medical negligence case.

The hospital has gone back to the court, claiming that the insurance firm agreed to pay Purity Kemunto’s son beyond their agreed policy limit.

According to the hospital, ICEA insured it to a tune of Sh10 million for each case.

In its application filed before High Court judge Mbogholi Msagha, the hospital complained that it was not consulted before the insurance firm agreed to pay the patient.

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“Considering ICEA Lion knew there was a limit to our cover, yet they went ahead to discuss issues of quantum over and above our limit under the policy and subsequently issue instructions to commit us on liability at 90 per cent points to massive fraud and collusion,” the application filed by Ngira and Associates read in part.

The hospital claims that its intention was to defend the case to the end and it now wants to move to the Court of Appeal.

In court, the hospital said that it was not challenging judgment, but asking the court to force the insurance firm to indemnify it beyond the Sh10 million premium.

The woman, in reply to the application, she says the hospital should first settle undisputed Sh10 million, then fight for the remainder. She said that her son continues to suffer as the case continues to drag in court.

On May 27, 2007, Kemunto checked in Nairobi Women Hospital expecting to walk home with a bundle of joy, a baby boy.

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But a blunder by the hospital personnel, which it owned up to in court, ruined her son’s life as he cannot live without support.

The court heard that a Dr Kagema had indicated that she was strong enough to carry out a normal delivery. But two days later, Justice Msagha heard Kemunto had not given birth despite severe labour and persistent pleas that she be attended to.

In the afternoon of May 29, a doctor named in court document as Mutinda rushed her to the theatre and had her deliver through a caesarean section.

The first sign that all was not well was that the baby did not cry and could not breathe properly.

She called two witnesses - Prof Kiama Wangai and Prof Erastus Amayo - who testified that if the doctors had been diligent, the boy would have been born healthy.

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Nairobi Women HospitalICEA LionSh54 million compensationmedical negligencePurity Kemuntohospital sues icea