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We've been left to die, hospital patients cry out

Patients are speaking of their suffering after the county government took over the War Memorial Hospital and shut it down. 

The patients and their relatives yesterday recounted their ordeal in the hands of county askaris and how they were forced to seek treatment outside the county. 

According to the hospital Chief Executive Officer Patricia Musale, the most affected were those undergoing dialysis due to Kidney complications.  

“We do dialysis for 30 patients daily, thrice a day, because we have ten machines. Each session takes four hours, and patients undergo dialysis twice a week,” said Musale. 

According to her, more than 60 patients can no longer access dialysis because of the January 23 closure. 

“If a patient misses a dialysis or if it is not done properly, there is an accumulation of toxic substances in the blood, and it can be fatal,” she added. 

A patient who requested their privacy recalled the ruthlessness with which the county enforcement officers stormed the facility. He said one entered the dialysis room and attempted to disconnect a patient from the machine. 

“Nurses came and confronted the officer. They took videos, and he left the room,” he said.  

The video was circulated on social media last week. 

The patient said when he went for his second dialysis session on Thursday, he was blocked by the county askaris at the main gate and told to seek services elsewhere. 

He was forced to go a private clinic, but notes the services are not as good because the session was reduced from four to two hours. 

Another kidney patient who has been locked out is worried that in case of an emergency, there are no High Dependency Units (HDU) or Intensive Care Units (ICU) in the clinic he is attending.

“We are not living but surviving,” he said. 

A woman whose son was admitted to the ICU at the hospital said they were chased out of the premises in an inhumane manner. 

She said she was instructed to take him out of the machine by the county government’s enforcement team. 

“The situation shocked me. They behaved as if they were not human beings. It felt like a coup in a hospital. I will never forget what we experienced,” she said. 

The closure has also affected over 300 staff and tens of suppliers, who are finding it difficult to earn a living. 

A staff member said they usually get their salaries on 26th of every month, but they are yet to be paid for January. 

She said they have been camping near the hospital every day from morning to evening, hoping to be granted access. 

“It is painful to wake up and go to a place you have worked for eight years only to find strangers. The county no longer cares about us. Who do we belong to?” 

Another staff wondered how they were supposed to explain to their children that they had no money despite leaving home every day for work. 

Musale said the hospital is losing approximately Sh1 million every day it remains closed, and expressed fear that they may not have money to pay salaries.

“We have documents and stamps for approval that we need to access to effect payments. We cannot access anything at the moment,” she said. 

Since last Tuesday, dialysis machines, other equipment and documents are in the county government's possession, and Musale is unsure if everything is intact. 

The hospital, she said, gets supplies from chemists, supermarkets, gas agencies and stationery companies, among others. 

The county government has chosen to remain quiet, insisting the matter will be prosecuted in the courts. But the county administration and the police have disregarded court orders to return the facility to its management and allow the staff back to work.

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