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New twist as KNH says patient who missed surgery is alive

By Nasibo Kabale | Published Mon, March 5th 2018 at 00:00, Updated March 4th 2018 at 23:55 GMT +3
Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki announced on Friday that John Ong’ech, a senior medical specialist at the hospital, would replace the embattled Lily Koros. [Photo: Jenipher Wachie, Standard]

In summary

  • Hospital denies varsity student died after brain surgery mishap
  • Hospital says the two patients involved in brain surgery mix-up are alive as varsity student's family insists he died from the incident

An independent investigation into how the wrong patient underwent brain surgery has been thrown into a spin after it emerged that there was a third patient involved.

Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) on Sunday disputed reports by the family of Angelos Miano that the university student died because he had missed out on surgery after the wrong patient was operated on in his place. 

According to KNH, the two patients involved in a mix-up of identification tags that saw the wrong man operated on, were still receiving treatment at the hospital. 

The first patient was admitted to the general surgical ward on February 18, while the second one was admitted to the same ward on February 19.

Both had head injuries, but were in stable condition.

In a statement, the hospital explained that, Miano, who died on February 27, had been admitted in critical condition on February 19 to the specialised neurosurgery ward, and later transferred to Intensive Care Unit (ICU) while the other two were admitted to the general surgical ward.

KNH's Corporate Affairs manager Simon Ithai denied claims by Miano's family that the student was part of the patient mix-up.

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"Our attention has been drawn to reports in the media about the state of the two patients where one of them was involved in an unintended surgery at Kenyatta National Hospital. We wish to state that both patients are still receiving treatment in the ward and have made remarkable improvement," said the hospital in a statement released by Ithai.

"The story on Angelos Miano, which story appeared in one of the daily newspapers and social media referring to him as one of the patients involved in the unintended surgery was not factual," added the statement.

One week

The hospital's board said it could take up to one week to establish what caused the confusion that saw the wrong patient operated on.

Board Chairman Mark Bor said an external systems audit had been commissioned following the incident.

He said the intention of the audit was to establish the root cause of the incident as well as forestall future occurrences.

“The board has appointed a committee to spearhead the investigations and report in a week,” he said.

The patient who underwent the unintended brain surgery on Monday night had been taken to the hospital and booked in as an "unknown African man."

On the same day, another patient lay in the ward. He too did not have a name or identification documents and was tagged as an unknown male. Both men were unconscious. 

At the same time, finding a replacement for Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) Chief Executive Lily Koros has proved to be an uphill task.

Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki announced on Friday that John Ong’ech, a senior medical specialist at the hospital, would replace Koros.

However in a statement, the board chairman said Thomas Mutie, who was set to be the acting clinical services director, would now be the acting chief executive.

Bor announced that Peter Masinde would be the acting clinical services director. 

The accident and emergency (A&E) unit at KNH is one of the busiest in the country.

According to the 2015-2017 referral report, the proportion of the referrals to the total number of patients received was 12 per cent.

Head injuries are the leading diagnosis at the unit with a total of 7.2 per cent of all referrals followed by fractures.

Nairobi is the leading referral county followed by Kiambu and Machakos.

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