KNH: Family row may be to blame for baby's death

Mother of the late Travis Maina Judy Muthoni (left), and his aunt Lucy Wambui (right) before Senate Health Committee on Health at Parliament Buildings in October 2022. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

A baby who died with a fork Jembe lodged in his head might have been a victim of domestic violence.

The Kenyatta National Hospital Chief Executive Officer Evanson Kamuri said the death of Travis Maina should be investigated since the mother could give more information on how the incident happened.

“This is a matter that needs to be looked into keenly since when baby Travis was pronounced dead, his mother Judy Muthoni wept uncontrollably stating that she could have been the one dead since the fork jembe that caused her son’s death was aimed at her,” Dr Kamuri told the Senate Health Committee at the hospital on Wednesday.

He said medical officers who examined the two-year-old boy before he died on October 11 expressed their misgivings, doubting the explanation that the injury was caused by other children while playing.

While defending the staff, Dr Kamuri said their findings indicated the bay may have stayed with the fork jembe for a longer time than it was alleged, and that he could not be taken to the theatre immediately since he had lost a lot of blood.

“Kenyatta National Hospital is sorry following baby Travis death. We tried everything within our powers to save him. However, revelations made by the mother as she mourned his death may open the lid over how he got the fatal injuries since the father might be involved,” he said.

Dr Kamuri told the committee that CCTV cameras can reveal what happened from the time the baby was brought and how he was handled.

Relevant agencies, he said, need to investigate the matter to find out what exactly happened since the parents might be holding back information.

The committee chairman, Jackson Mandago, said following the new development the team will study all the versions given before making recommendations.

“Baby Travis’ mother and the management of the Kenyatta National Hospital have given us information on how the baby died. We will check our records before making our recommendations on this issue since we want to know what really happened,” said the Uasin Gishu Senator.

The hospital also denied the mother’s claim that the family had been asked to pay Sh20,000 deposit before the baby was admitted.

Dr Kamuri said the hospital is owed Sh7 billion in unpaid medical bills, but it cannot fail to treat patients.

Muthoni had earlier told the committee that she had left three children at home and could not explain how they got the fork jembe.

She explained that they rushed Maina to a local dispensary, where he was given first aid before being transferred to the Thika Level Five Hospital.

He underwent a head scan and was put on a drip, before an ambulance took them to the Kenyatta National Hospital about an hour later.

“We were asked to pay Sh1,260 for admission after which we went to Room 4 where a medical officer told us to pay Sh20,500 before Travis could be attended to. We wondered where we will could get the money, but we only requested for the treatment of my son first,” said Muthoni.

The baby’s aunt only identified as Wambui told the committee that they felt that they did not get the required medical attention at KNH. She said they watched helplessly as they could not feed or give Maina water because they had been instructed not to do so.

A medical officer who observed the baby, Wambui claimed, promised to consult them before deciding what to do, but never returned until the next day at around 8am.

“The medical officer who had observed baby Travis came in at around 8am and told us the baby was supposed to go to theatre. When we asked at about 1pm why they had kept us for long, we were told they were attending to an emergency,” said Wambui.