KNH says there's not much it could do in case of woman who couldn't get space in ICU

By Gloria Aradi | Friday, Aug 31st 2018 at 00:00
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Karen Gacheru, woman who claimed her mother died after doctors at KNH refused to attend to her.

A woman has claimed her mother died after doctors at Kenyatta National Hospital refused to attend to her.

Karen Gacheru, in a video she posted on Facebook, says they took their 68-year-old mother, Hanna Njoki, to KNH after an accident.

The video that was posted on the ‘Kilimani Mums and Dads’ page on Tuesday has sparked outrage.

The 27-minute video went viral on social media platforms.

The latest incident only serves to further puncture the ill-reputed KNH, dealing a blow to the waning public confidence in the facility.

In the video, an emotional Gacheru glares at the camera, before beginning, “I want to tell you one thing about Kenyatta National Hospital; I am sure those doctors are not qualified. I came to confirm today”.

Amid sobs, Gacheru describes how her mother died at KNH. “My mum was hit by a motorbike on a Saturday as she left a church vigil. She was taken to KNH. She had a head injury,” says Gacheru.

Despite the severity of the injury and pleadings by the family to doctors to help Njoki, Gacheru alleges KNH staff said there wasn’t much they could do since the ICU was full. “They said they were trying but they were too casual despite the seriousness of her condition.”

Gacheru says her mother was finally admitted to Ward B, but only after a phone call from an unspecified person.

Even then, Gacheru states, the staff at the ward were reluctant to admit Njoki terming her ‘too critical’.

KNH admitted it did not take Njoki to the ICU even though she needed the services.

“We wish to state Hanna Njoki, 68, was received at KNH Accident and Emergency on August 25 with a severe head injury arising from a road accident and required critical care. Unfortunately, there was no available ICU bed but treatment was initiated and the patient admitted awaiting availability of an ICU bed,” chief executive Peter Masinde said in a statement.

Gacheru says her mother was still not moved to the ICU days later despite her deteriorating condition.

She singles out one doctor who she says dismissed her when she sought advice on what to do saying: “Take your mother elsewhere, the ICU is full here.”

Gacheru also claims a nurse kicked her out of her mother’s ward on Monday when she inquired about her breathing difficulty, telling her, “Why do you want to teach me my job”.

But Dr Masinde said the hospital advised Gacheru and her family to take their mother to a private hospital, but they said they could not afford.

In most private hospitals, a Sh200,000 deposit must be made before a patient is admitted to the ICU.

Gacheru says she later opted to pay KNH the Sh200,000 to admit Njoki to its private wing, but the hospital declined. They told her both the private and public wings share the ICU.

Njoki died on Tuesday morning. As Gacheru explains in the video, the hospital then gave her a counsellor to talk to her.

“The counsellor called the police when I told her I had the videos and photos. The police looked for me so they could delete them but I hid myself. They even came to the mortuary and told my family that I had to delete the videos and photos,” Gacheru claims.

In the video, Gacheru alleges foul play in her mother’s death. She accuses the hospital of blackmail and attempt to cover up the incident.

She claims a doctor urged her to delete the recordings so “they could talk”.

KNH’s Head of Communications Simon Ithae said lack of sufficient beds in the ICU was a major challenge. “We have increased the beds in the ICU from 21 to 31 but they are still not enough.”

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