To this date, Joseph Musuya Mulupi believes his wife, June Wanza Nyamai Mulupi, was not supposed to die in June 2018. She died two days after undergoing an elective procedure through which fat from her abdomen was harvested (through liposuction) and infused into her breasts.
“June was not sick. She was in perfect health. This was a cosmetic procedure that she had wanted to do out of choice,” Mr Mulupi says.
He vividly recalls the first time his wife informed him of her intentions. “She asked if she could go ahead,” he says. “To date, I am convinced, she was the most beautiful woman I had ever met and I was lucky that she was my wife,” he says. He however promised to support her if she was convinced that she needed to undergo the procedure.
“Contrary to what people have said, my wife loved herself. She would have cared less what people thought of her body. She was doing this for no one other than herself.” Through recommendation by friends (and positive rave reviews) the Mulupis sought the procedure at Surgeoderm Healthcare Clinic, in Nairobi’s Kilimani estate.
“We were told that the chief specialist Prof Stanley Khainga, was skilled in plastic and reconstructive surgery,” he recalls. On March 24, 2018 June underwent the first liposuction of fat from her abdomen, which was then transferred, to her breasts.
She did not suffer any complications. A follow up procedure was scheduled for June. “There would be others until the desired result was achieved,” Mulupi says.
On June 5, June drove herself to Surgeoderm from the family home in Rongai. “She was to undergo the procedure and I would pick her in the evening at 9 O’clock the same day,” he says. Mulupi stayed at the facility until 1am but he was told that his wife was resting and therefore he couldn’t see her nor take her home.
He left, planning to go back at daybreak. At about 8am on June 6 Mulupi drove back to the facility to pick his wife. June, it appeared, was nowhere close to being ready to leave for home as Mulupi found her “dead asleep”.
He decided to do some work and return by midday to check on her. But at noon, the story had changed. “That is when I was told that she was not eating. Her doctor said I give her time to eat and regain strength,” Mulupi says.
“I admonished my wife to eat: if it was the only way that we could go home,” Mulupi says. But June was not eating. Her appetite was non-existent.
She was placed on drip – one after another. By 9 O’clock in the evening he says his wife’s condition had worsened.
“She said, “Honey, I am feeling cold.” She was weak. Her abdomen, where the liposuction was done, was oozing funny fluids. She was in horrible shape,” Mulupi says.
At that point, Dr Martin Ajujo (the one who performed the liposuction) told him: “Things are not looking good. Tell us which health facility we can take your wife to for further treatment.” His first choice was Aga Khan Hospital but the hospital refused to admit June.
His second option, Nairobi Hospital, was willing to take in the patient. Mulupi says June was supported down the stairs to an ambulance waiting outside the mansionette-like Surgeoderm clinic.
Between Surgeoderm and Nairobi Hospital (about 10 minutes’ drive apart) her condition went from bad to worse, he says.
Upon arrival at Nairobi Hospital’s emergency room doctors immediately went into action, “to stabilise her,” Mulupi says.
June would then be taken to resuscitation room and afterwards to High Dependency Unit. At around 10.30pm Prof Khainga, the director at Surgeoderm, assured Mulupi that his wife will be fine.
“Afterwards I went to sleep at my brother-in-law’s house,” he says. When he woke up – the morning of June 7 – around 7 O’clock Mulupi got a missed call from Nairobi Hospital. He called back and was informed that blood (for his wife) was needed. He mobilised friends and family for blood donation.
At 10.30am Mulupi was taken to the Intensive Care Unit where his wife lay motionless. “Just talk to her: keep talking to her,” the nurse at the ICU kept telling him.
Later, at high noon, one of the doctors attending to his wife briefed him that June was developing gangrene (dead flesh) around her abdomen.
Mulupi also learnt his wife was scheduled to undergo surgery that afternoon. He left his brother and in-laws at the hospital to follow up on her condition as he went home to check on their children. He would drive back to the hospital at around 7pm. When he arrived, instead of being taken to a ward (or the ICU) he was shown into a room.
“At the door it was written ‘Counseling Room’. A man with a white collar was waiting inside. At that point I no longer needed to be told that June died,” he says.
Inside the counseling room Mulupi learnt that June was wheeled into surgery at 4pm. She suffered cardiac arrest twice. She never emerged from the second one. The autopsy report, done by Chief Covernment Pathologist Dr Johansen Oduor, concluded that June died out of pulmonary edema with suspected sepsis/hemorrhage that occurred after surgery.
The pathologist found two stitched perforations on her small instestines. A medical report signed by Dr Ajujo narrates that June had bilateral small and asymmetrical breasts. The right one was bigger than the left. It further states: ‘Treatment plan was augmentation and asymmetry correction with serial platelet enriched plasma fat grafting.’ June’s time of death was declared 5.58pm.