Brain surgery mishap: Over 500 Kenyan doctors down tools, demand reinstatement of colleague

2018-03-05 13:30


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Nairobi – Over 500 senior doctors at Kenya's biggest referral hospital, Kenyatta National Hospital, have reportedly downed their tools in protest against the suspension of their colleague, who performed a brain surgery on the wrong patient.

A BBC report said on Monday that the chairperson of the doctors' union, Sammy Oroko, maintained that the suspension of the neurosurgeon was a "knee jerk reaction which will not solve the underlying problems at the hospital".

Three other staff - the ward nurse, theatre receiving nurse and anaesthetist – had also been suspended, the report said.

Reports last week said that the neurosurgeon was suspended after performing a brain surgery on the wrong patient.

According to Daily Nation, this was "one of the worst cases of medical malpractice to become public at Kenyatta National Hospital".

The report said that two men had been wheeled into the hospital a week ago – one needed a surgery to remove a blood clot in his brain "while the other only required nursing and medication to heal a trauma swelling in his head".

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There was, however, "a horror mix-up of tags", which resulted in the wrong man being wheeled into theatre and his skull opened.

Doctors only realised the mistake hours into the surgery "when they discovered there was no blood clot in the brain".

A report by the Standard newspaper said that the hospital had since apologised for the "monumental blunder". The hospital said that it had done all it could "to ensure the safety and well-being of the patient in question", adding that it had suspended the doctor.

But according to The Star, the doctor’s colleagues had protested the suspension, saying that the nurses who prepared the patient for surgery were the ones at fault for wrongly labelling the two patients. 

"As unit colleagues, we believe that while our friend may have exhibited some procedural shortcomings, the surgery was done on the wrong patient mainly because of wrong patient labelling by the ward staff," the doctors were quoted as saying at the time.

The doctor’s union wanted an overhaul of the hospital operations, including digitisation of the hospital’s booking systems and setting up more theatres.

They said that the boycott was an opportunity to re-examine the entire system at the Kenyatta Hospital, BBC said.

Read more on:    kenya  |  east africa

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