A woman has sued the Nairobi Hospital for cruel treatment after she was detained over a Sh2 million bill.
Naomi Wangui Mwangi argued that she did not understand how a procedure that would have cost Sh220,000 escalated to more than Sh2 million.
She said she developed complications after delivery due to a doctor’s negligence.
“I gave birth to a healthy baby through caesarean section, and we were both fine and discharged from the maternity. However, due to the doctor’s negligence, I developed some complications, which made me stay for more days,” said Wangui.
Ms Mwangi says she was admitted to the hospital on February 12, adding that the caesarean section cost Sh220,000 and was settled by her insurance.
However, she stated that the doctor that attended to her did not complete the procedure after operation, leading to the perforation of her colon.
This made her stay in hospital for another week. And when she asked to be discharged, she was issued with a bill of Sh2,119,582.
“I told the hospital I was under no obligation to pay the amount since it resulted from their negligence. Although they denied being negligent, they assured me they would not demand any money,” she said.
However, when she was preparing to leave the hospital, she was told she had to pay the money.
She said when she could not raise the amount, the hospital detained her and her baby, thereby subjecting them to torture, inhuman, cruel and degrading treatment.
Ms Wangui claimed the hospital detained her to exert pressure on her relatives to pay the money. She wants the hospital to compensate her for the ordeal.
The hospital denied causing Wangui and her baby any harm during delivery. It said it was only after she had been taken to a ward to recuperate that she developed complications requiring further treatment.
The hospital’s legal officer Maxwell Maina swore that they never subjected the woman to inhuman treatment and that the bill was justified.
“Owing to several procedures performed on her, the hospital is entitled to be paid. We never detained her or her baby. We only demanded that she pays the outstanding balance to be discharged,” he said.
According to Maina, it was in the interest of the mother and that of the baby to stay longer in hospital given the condition he said had put her life in danger.
He denied claims of negligence and stated that the woman had complained of pain in her lower chest before a scan revealed she had pneumonia. He said it would have been medically unsound to discharge her from hospital.
Lady Justice Wilfrida Okwany gave the parties 21 days to file their submissions and scheduled the hearing on October 15.