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Kapkatet Hospital to compensate family of a patient transferred to mortuary alive

Kapkatet Sub-County Hospital is on the spot after medical negligence.

The hospital management and the county government of Kericho are to pay the family of a man who was transferred to the mortuary alive.

Peter Kigen, 37, a resident of Bureti Constituency, was pronounced dead and his body transferred to the Kapkatet Hospital mortuary.

However, it was discovered Kigen was still alive during embalming.

The Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Council (KMPDC) has asked the hospital to apologize to the family following the incident.

“Kapkatet Hospital be and is hereby admonished for failing to institute and implement Standard Operating Procedures to ensure that people who pass on outside the hospital are certified dead before being taken to the mortuary,” KMPDC Chief Executive Daniel Yumbya said in a submission to the Senate Health Committee yesterday.

Kericho Governor Paul Chepkwony, through a submission, said the patient was taken to Kapkatet Sub-County Hospital on November 24, 2020, at around 7.30 am using vehicle registration number KCJ 077M.

According to the county, Kigen’s wife realized he had passed out at around 4 am.

She screamed, alerting relatives who came and declared him dead.

However, they decided to wait till morning to take him to a mortuary.

“The persons in the vehicle claimed that they were bringing in a dead relative from home and were seeking mortuary services. The security officer on duty directed them to the hospital casualty for confirmation of the death,” Chepkwony said.

“As a normal procedure in the hospital, the relatives are to obtain a registration receipt then proceed for the service they require. For this particular case, the relatives proceeded to casualty,” he added.

According to the hospital’s protocol, the relatives were asked to await the clinician who was attending to another patient, to confirm Kigen’s death.

“After the procedure, the nurse went to look for the relatives outside the parking lot but surprising, they were nowhere. It later emerged that the relatives had proceeded to the mortuary without any clinician confirming the alleged death,” he added.

The mortician in charge received the “body” still wrapped in a blanket.

While unwrapping, she noticed signs of life and immediately called the clinician for further assessment.

The clinician confirmed that the alleged body had a weak pulse, diminished respiratory action, absent extraocular movements and absent reflexes.

Kigen was taken to the casualty unit for stabilization.

He was then admitted to the male ward for the next six days.

He was later transferred to Kericho County Hospital on December 3, when his condition worsened.

He was pronounced dead on arrival at around 2 pm.

Titus Ngulungu conducted the autopsy on December 8, 2020.

In his report, Ngulungu pointed out an incision wound, measuring 60mm, found on the right femoral area.

The wound was vertical oriented and professionally stitched.

According to KMPDC Chief Executive Daniel Yumbya, the report provides credibility to the allegation by the relatives that the patient regained consciousness after an incision was made on his right leg by the mortician.

The autopsy report also included details of the body being wasted and dehydrated.

The deceased’s stomach had also distended.

Meanwhile, further investigations have been launched.

By Everlyne Bosibori

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