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Referral hospital put on spot over death of three people

By Gilbert Kimutai | Published Tue, May 29th 2018 at 18:57, Updated May 29th 2018 at 19:31 GMT +3
Longisa County Referral Hospital. [Courtesy]

Longisa County Referral Hospital has been put on the spot over death of three people on Monday following a power outage at the facility.

Members of the public have demanded an explanation from the county medical services department over the deaths, threatening to institute legal action against the facility.

A middle-aged man and two infants are among the deaths after the hospital’s backup generator broke down.

The two infants who were being kept at the nursery succumbed due to the prolonged blackout that lasted for more than seven hours at the facility.

The adult who was on a life supporting machine succumbed after the oxygen supply to the intensive care unit where he was being treated stopped.

Several other patients were also referred to Tenwek and Kaplong Mission Hospital in a last minute to save lives of patients that were at stake.

A senior health official at the facility confirmed the deaths saying their attempt to repair the generator following a KPLC power interruption failed.

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“The generator operated for less than an hour after a KPLC blackout before breaking down leading to machines topping and before we could finish referring infants two died and a male adult who was on life support at the ICU also succumbed,” said the officials sought anonymity because he is not allowed to speak to the media.

Families of the victims who spoke to The Standard have accused the management of the hospital of negligence saying they will be seeking legal redress for the lives lost during the incident.

“Our child was doing well at the incubator until the time the machines stopped working and we later learnt it was due to a generator breakdown,” said one of the parents who lost a child.

The mother of two, who also asked not to be named fearing reprisals, said the death of their new born was devastating and they are yet to get an explanation.

“We saw other parents rushing their infants out of the nursery and they could help mine,” she said.

Longisa Medical Superintendent Ronny Kibet confirmed that the hospital was without power for the better part of Monday.

Mr Kibet said the blackout was caused by a breakdown by the hospital generator that overheated.

“The hospital generator overheated and broke down leading to a seven hour blackout at the hospital,” said Kibet.

Kibet said the breakdown coincided with a KPLC power blackout and their attempts to restore the generator were futile.

The medical superintendent, however, denied that the deaths were as a result of the blackout.

“There is no life that was lost during in the process after we did quick referrals to Tenwek and Kaplong Mission hospitals,” the official added.

The incident that has caused a public outcry comes hot on the heels of an alleged shortage of drugs at the county’s biggest public facility.

Nurses at the facility have also issued a two weeks strike threat over pending promotions and re-designation.

KNUN Bomet branch secretary Vincent Rono said they are pursuing the matter with the county and public service board saying they have issued notice.

Rono accused the county of ignoring their plea over promotion and confirmation of nurses who have served on contract terms for many years.


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