Hospital on the spot as patient disappears from ward

By Mercy Kahenda | Friday, Aug 10th 2018 at 10:48
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Nakuru Level Five hospital is on the spot after a patient admitted to the facility disappeared under unclear circumstances.

Julius Waithaka, 56, from Shabab estate, within Nakuru town was admitted to Ward 11, bed number 35, last Wednesday at around 10am but on Saturday, he went missing.

His colleagues told The Standard Waithaka fell sick while at work, and was rushed at the hospital for treatment but later vanished without trace.

Sammy Waiya, a colleague, said they went to visit him for three days while he was undergoing treatment but on Saturday, Waithaka could not be traced.

“Waithaka felt sick, we rushed him to the hospital where he was on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday before he went missing on Saturday,”he  said.

Waiya said they informed the hospital management about Waithaka's disappearance but they were allegedly reluctant to do a follow-up and said they were not conversant with the patient's disappearance.

Further, the management is accused of directing relatives and colleagues to look for the patient at the hospital mortuary.

“The hospital did not respond to the case when we raised the issue. We were instead directed to check for him at the mortuary, but we did not find his body,” said Waiya, a mechanic.

Joyce Mwangi, a niece to Waithaka, said she visited the hospital on Monday after receiving news of her uncle's disappearance but did not get answers from the management on what transpired.

Ms Mwangi said the management informed her that they had reported the case at Showground Police Station.

Out of concern, she said she went to the said station, but was surprised that a complaint had not been launched as claimed by the management.

At the station, Mwangi reported the case and was booked under Occurrence Book number 11/6/8/2018.

“Management told me that they were investigating disappearance of my uncle but I was surprised they had not reported the incident,” said Mwangi.

She said the hospital should give answers on how the patient went missing, what time and further produce him.

“All we know is that, my uncle is at the hospital. We need the management to inform us what happened and to give us the patient,” she said.

Yesterday, irate mechanics stormed the hospital demanding audience from the management on whereabouts of the patient whom they said was humble and hardworking.

Peter Kimani, Waithaka’s friend and workmate said the hospital should boost its security to guarantee safety of patients.

The patient’s personal effects including a basin and clothes are still at the hospital and those who had been admitted next to him say they last saw him sitting on the bed on Saturday.

The hospital in charge Dr Joseph Mburu acknowledged that Waithaka was admitted at the facility for three days with a history of hypertension.

Mburu said on Saturday, the patient was discharged during morning ward rounds, but at around 6.30pm he was discovered missing.

“It is true the patient was at the hospital for three days, but he went missing under unclear circumstances,” said Mburu

He said according to discharge note in the hospital file, a discharge summary was issued but the patient was not cleared.

“The patient was reviewed during ward round, but because discharge summary is kept at the hospital file the patient did not get it because he had not been cleared,” said the hospital boss.

After disappearance of the patient, Mburu told The Standard that the management reported the incident at Showground Police Station but were not issued with an OB number.

“We reported the case, but we were not given OB number, and only wrote a statement because it had been launched,” said the in- charge.

Mburu said the management has invited the police and are checking the CCTV to know what transpired.

Waithaka, who hails from Gatundu in Kiambu County, has been living alone in Nakuru for the last 20 years where he has been working as a mechanic.

Nakuru OCPD Samuel Obara said he could not comment on the matter claiming media is not objective.

Police commander Hassan Barua said he was not aware of the incident and would visit the police station where the case was reported, for clarity.

About issuance of OB, the police boss observed that the hospital might have reported the case after the family did so. 

“I am not aware about the case but I have to confirm personally for investigations,” said Barua.

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