Family members and mourners who arrived at a mortuary in Embu on Wednesday to settle the bill and obtain burial permit for a ‘dead relative’ were shocked when they found out that he was alive.
Back at home in Magumori Village in Embu County, mourners who had gathered for burial preparations planned for the next day were dumbfounded and relieved at the same time after the learnt that Stephen Kibuti was alive and recuperating at the Embu Level Five Teaching and Referral Hospital.
The revelation ended the weeklong burial preparations in which the burial committee had met and contributed Sh50,000 for expenses, ACK St John Mbita Parish had been informed and offered a clergyman who was to conduct the burial service, eulogy had also been prepared, tents and chairs hhad been delivered. What was pending was buying the coffin and digging the grave.
But as all that was happening, Kibuti, 28, who engages in farming at his parents’ home was battling for his life in hospital less than 30km away.
It all started on Thursday last week when Kibuti who had according to his parents partied the whole of the previous night was found at home unconscious and barely breathing.
His father James Nyaga and mother Faith Igoki rushed him to Kiritiri Level Four Hospital where he was put on drip and remained under watch of medics until 4pm when they recommended his transfer to a better equipped hospital.
At the Embu hospital he was admitted at ward two, bed two in critical condition.
The following morning, his father Nyaga visited him at the hospital but he claims he found his bed empty.
“I searched for him in the wards but I couldn’t find him. I enquired from a patient who informed me that my son was wheeled away on a trolley. I believed he died and was so shocked that I collapsed,” said Nyaga.
He said doctors attended to him and when he regained consciousness he was helped to move to Kiritiri Bus Park to board a matatu home. He admits he never got formal acknowledgement from the hospital about his son’s “death”.
Embu Level Five Hospital CEO Dr Daniel Mugendi blamed Nyaga for not being keen in “noticing that the patient was still in the same bed but covered with a blanket”.
“The patient was in the bed all that time. The father never enquired from the nurse in charge. The patient was treated for effects of alcohol and is responding well to treatment,” said Dr Mugendi.
Ms Igoki explains that when her husband arrived home he was crestfallen and was unable to speak to anyone.
“When we pestered him further about my son’s condition, he started crying and we knew the worst had happened. Grieve and mourning pervaded the family,” she says.
Nyaga would later inform family and neighbours that his son was no more.
The chairman of Mbita Welfare Justus Njoroge, which helps in offsetting burial expenses, was informed and burial preparations kicked off in earnest.
“I could not doubt the news since it was a father announcing that his son was dead. We started evening vigils and contributing money. We had raised Sh50,000 by the time we realized the man was alive. Sh10,000 had already been used in various expenses. We let the family keep the remaining money,” he said.
Njoroge said when they arrived at the hospital on Wednesday to pay mortuary bills, the record officers searched for deceased’s file for hours until, a nurse enquired what was happening and informed them that the patient was alive and had just been given medication.
“We went and saw Kibuti whose condition had improved a lot. He could recognize people. He was not informed about the happenings,” he said.
He said since 1989 when the Welfare was formed that was the first time they had encountered such a bizarre incident.
Mbita Location Senior Chief Josphat Nyaga said Kibuti was sick and hence when information came from the father that he had died they just believed.
“I had prepared to visit the family on Wednesday evening when news came that the man believed to be dead was alive. I summoned the parents and the Welfare officials to my office so that they can explain what exactly happened. I’m sorry to the family for what they have gone through,” he said.
News that Kibuti was alive triggered rumours that he had resurrected after five days at the mortuary. But Dr Mugendi said the patient was never taken to the mortuary.
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