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Kenya: Neurosurgeon operates on wrong patient

A neurosurgeon has been suspended for opening up the head of the wrong patient at Kenyatta National Hospital.

Published: March 4, 2018, 10:21 am


    Two men had been wheeled into KNH unconscious last Sunday, Kenya Today reported. One needed head surgery to remove a blood clot while the other only required medication to heal a trauma swelling to his head.

    A horror mix-up of identification tags, has now resulted in one of the worst cases of medical malpractice to become public in the country.

    Doctors did not realise their mistake until hours into the surgery, when they discovered there was no blood clot in the brain. Questions about the required pre-surgery procedures in Kenyan hospitals has been raised after the mistake as well as about doctors’ lack of commitment to their patients to ensure they receive good care.

    The Daily Nation exposed the medical scandal on Wednesday. Hospital management forcefully removed a female journalist from Kenya Today who had wanted to do a follow-up story about the well-being of the two patients.

    The hospital’s chief operating officer Lily Koros, has issued a statement announcing the suspension of four medics involved in the mishap. They include the neurosurgeon, the ward nurse, theatre receiving nurse, and the anaesthetist.

    “The management has suspended the admission rights of a neurosurgery registrar and issued him with a show-cause letter for apparently operating on the wrong patient,” Koros said.

    It appears that the neurosurgeon had no contact with the patient, and only waited in the theatre. “The staff in theatre had no way of telling they were operating on the wrong patient because he was unconscious,” a source said.

    The doctors only realised the mistake more than two hours into the operation.

    According to sources, the patient who had a clot might not undergo surgery “because he has improved significantly”.

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