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Autopsy report reveals intern doctor died of strangulation

 Medical officers protest in Nakuru City over the murder of their colleague Dr Laban Langat. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

A postmortem examination conducted on the body of an intern medical officer who was found dumped in a trench near the Nakuru Level 5 Hospital has revealed he was strangled to death.

Government Pathologist Titus Ngulungu, who conducted the autopsy on Sunday, confirmed that Laban Langat, 26, died of strangulation.

“The doctor died due to lack of oxygen after his neck was compressed or strangled,” said Ngulungu.

The results of the postmortem examination sparked a protest by nurses and doctors at the Level 5 facility who marched around Nakuru City demanding justice.

The slogan-chanting and twig-carrying protesters marched through Kenyatta Avenue and branched to Moi Road on their way to the governor’s office where they demanded maximum security at the hospital.

Langat’s body was found in a trench outside the Margaret Kenyatta Mother and Baby maternity wing at around 7am on Saturday. Langat had worked at the hospital for four months.

After the body was discovered, Nakuru West Police Commander Francis Wahome told journalists that the body had no signs of physical injuries.

“Without any outer sign of injuries, it is difficult to tell what caused his death. A post-mortem will tell us more about the cause of death,” said Wahome.

Yesterday, Langat’s parents expressed sadness saying their son’s promising career was cut short.

Sarah Rono said her son recently graduated from Egerton University in 2023 after studying Medicine and Surgery.

“We struggled with his education and we had hopes in our fourth-born son but he is no more. Our hearts will not rest and we will no longer be the same again,” said Ms Rono.

Rono said she last spoke to her son last Thursday when she called to check on him.

“He was full of life and has never complained of any health problems. We were very close and he told me and his father everything to the point. We had a routine of calling him around noon every day,” she said.

She described Langat as a dedicated person who cared for his patients, adding that medicine was his dream career since childhood.

Johana Rono said his son got a one-year internship in July 2023 and was set to complete in June and be a full doctor.

He was troubled at how his son could be killed and his body dumped in a place presumed to be secure.

“We believe that he was killed inside the compound. But how did the killers make their way into the hospital?” he wondered.

He called for swift and thorough investigations into his son’s death.

A friend of Langat said she spoke to him last Friday at around 10:30pm and he was full of life.

The woman, who sought anonymity, said when she reached out to him at around 4am on Saturday, he failed to respond, only for her to learn that he was killed.

On Monday, medical officers and interns at PGH paralysed operations at the facility demanding answers following Langat’s killing.

“We are working in fear. It is no longer safe to work in such an environment where our security as medics is compromised,” said Dr Stephen Obiero, who is in charge of interns.

The medical officers marched to the governor’s office demanding the installation of CCTV cameras and the deployment of security personnel to the facility.

This followed revelations that the CCTV surveillance in the hospital lacked proper lighting that might have assisted investigative agencies in tracing the alleged killers.

“We do not have a working CCTV in this level five hospital. Surely how are our safety as medical practitioners assured?” posed Rose Masita, the head of the nurses union.

Charles Kamau, Nakuru West Sub-County Criminal investigations officer confirmed that they had recorded statements from 10 people but were yet to make any arrest.

“We interrogated 10 people who were with the deceased on the previous night and guards at the hospital. We also visited the nightclub he was last seen at,” said Mr Kamau. 

Nakuru Governor Susan Kihika expressed profound sorrow and extended her heartfelt condolences to the family, friends, and the entire PGH fraternity for the tragic loss of one of their own.

“Nakuru County Government remains dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for its residents and is steadfast in its commitment to public welfare,” said Kihika. 

The Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists, and Dentists Union (KMPDU) has also called for immediate investigation into Langat’s death. 

KMPDU Secretary General Dr Davji Bhimji said the circumstances surrounding Langat’s death were shrouded in mystery.

“As KMPDU, we call for an immediate and thorough investigation by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations to establish the cause of his death,” said Dr Bhimji.

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