Win for hospital in effort to bar doctor over fatal breast surgery

A court has temporary barred a doctor from practicing as he fights accusations of neglect following the death of a woman in a botched breast surgery.

Court of Appeal judges Wanjiru Karanja, Martha Koome and Sankale ole Kantai, in their ruling, agreed that Nairobi Hospital had a weighty case which warranted the court to intervene and order that Prof Stanley Ominde Khainga should not continue practicing at the hospital until the appeal is settled.

“The applicant (Nairobi Hospital) has satisfied the second limb of the principles we have identified - that the appeal will be rendered nugatory if we do not grant stay. We are satisfied that the motion here is merited and we allow it,” the judges ruled.

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The Employment and Labour Relations Court had suspended a letter by the hospital issued in 2018 which stripped the plastic and reconstructive surgery expert of rights to admit his patients at the hospital.

This follows the death of June Wanza Mulupi who died the same year at Nairobi Hospital, after a failed breast augmentation surgery at Surgeoderm Health Care Limited, a health facility owned by Prof Khainga.

At the Appeals court, Nairobi Hospital lawyers John Ohaga and Franklin Cheluget argued that the hospital’s reputation is at stake if he is continues practicing as Mulupi may have died in his hands.

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The hospital argued he was a consultant who operated as independent contractor, and not an employee and had rights to admit patients in other hospitals like Agha Khan University Hospital.

“Nairobi Hospital is a premier hospital whose reputation required to be protected. The Labour Court had no powers in the matter filed before it because the respondent (Prof Khainga) is a consultant and not an employee of Nairobi Hospital and provisions of the Employment Act were not applicable,” Ohaga argued.

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According to the hospital’s medical director Christopher Abeid, the orders by Labour judge Byrum Ongaya would create chaos and confusion in the medical field where for a long time, consultants have been and continue to practice in various medical facilities as independent service providers.

Dr Abeid claimed that the victim, a mother of three, had been referred to the hospital from Prof Khainga’s medical facility and after admission, she died. He added that two pathologists found the University of Nairobi (UoN) lecturer negligent in the way that the woman had been managed.

In reply, Khainga’s lawyer Prof Kiama Wangai argued that the court case had not yet been determined and that it had only issued temporary orders.

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Court of AppealAgha Khan University HospitalNairobi Hospital