Doctor’s son nose surgery gone wrong costs hospital Sh44 million

A doctor's son was yesterday awarded Sh44.5 million after proving a case of medical negligence against a Nairobi hospital.

Justice George Odunga ordered Nairobi Hospital to pay Jacob Ondeko, a former St Mary’s School student, for a nose surgery gone wrong 14 years ago.

Ondeko’s life changed on February 8, 2005, leading to his current vegetative state.

Court records show that Ondeko, then a Form Four, was playing basketball when he broke his nose.

Three days after the field accident, he was taken to Nairobi Hospital for a surgery to rectify the fracture, and this is where his life took a nosedive.

The surgery was supposed to take between seven and 10 minutes.

Ondeko, then 14 years, wanted to be a pilot, but today he relies on his parents for support.

The court was told the near-grave incident stemmed from an anesthesia that led to brain damage.

The practitioner at the heart of the surgery, Praxedes Mandu, told court tubes that helped Ondeko breathe were removed before the planned time.

Doctor's instruction

According to the doctor, the sedation was not done according to her instruction. The court heard that the sedatives were to wear out gradually.

Dr Praxedes was blamed for leaving her patient with a Dr Thanga, who allegedly did not know how to reduce the sedatives.

In addition, it was claimed that she had planned the process to take between 48 and 72 hours, but her notes on February 13, 2005, to the ICU doctor failed to indicated that.

Although an anesthetic machine ought to raise the alarm whenever oxygen levels go down, the one attached to Ondeko did not. The court found the hospital to blame for not ensuring the machine was working properly.

The hospital defended itself saying the machine had been examined by bio-metric specialists.

Justice Ondunga observed that the hospital did not produce reports generated by the machine to show what happened on the surgery bed.

“The first defendant (Dr Praxedes) was negligent for failure to properly monitor the first plaintiff (Ondeko) and the anesthetic machine,” Justice Odunga observed.

He continued: “On the part of the third defendant (Nairobi Hospital), it failed to ensure that the anesthetic machines were in good working condition.”