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Husband of patient with Sh23 million medical bill wants hospital to be liable

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The family of a patient with Sh23 million medical bill at Karen Hospital says they neither disappeared nor abandoned her as alleged by the facility.

Jacklyne Mutaki walked into Karen Hospital on February 16 last year for an elective CS but never left the theatre the same person. She developed a complication that has left her in a vegetative state.

Her husband Michael Omusula says the hospital should take liability for his wife’s health because of negligence that led to her current state. In an affidavit filed in court, Omusula says the hospital was negligent in handling his wife and it owes her a duty of care for acting in bad faith.

“My wife has been in Karen Hospital for more than one-and-a-half years because of brain injury attributed to the doctor’s negligence and not recurrent chest infections as indicated in the affidavit by Karen Hospital,” he says.

However, the hospital wants Jacklyne transferred to a public hospital, possibly KNH or home-based care, citing the accumulated medical bill that the family cannot afford to clear.

Omusula is opposed to his wife being moved to a public facility, arguing that Karen Hospital’s intention is to burden a public hospital as a result of a private institution’s negligence.

He denies claims that they have abandoned Jacklyne, saying they have visited her daily from the day of her admission and have been patient and hopeful that she will recover.

HospitalOmusula says he was shocked to learn from the media on September 11, 2020, that Karen had applied to transfer his wife to a public facility.

“I was never informed of the application by the hospital despite the weekly communication with the shoptalk through Dr Gikonyo,” he said.

They had attended all the antenatal clinics at the hospital and after consultation with their doctor, they agreed on an elective CS for their lastborn son.

Omusula says when his wife went in for the CS, she “was very much okay” and the doctors did several tests and said she was fit for delivery.

He claims that after waiting for more than two hours and on enquiring about the status of the delivery, he was informed that his wife had been taken to the ICU.

“I immediately rushed to the ICU to find out what was happening and saw that my dear wife was lying in bed and breathing heavily and under the help of oxygen and the doctors were frantically trying to resuscitate her,” he says.

He was later informed that Jacklyne had developed complications after the administration of the anaesthesia and her blood pressure went down when the baby was still in the womb, a situation that led to her being unconscious.

Omusula says the doctors made a decision to deliver the baby before resuscitating his wife. The hospital assured him and other family members that after two or three days his wife would regain her senses but to date, she cannot talk and has never improved.

He says Jacklyne spent one month in the ICU and was then transferred to a ward where she has been up to date, with the family being assured by Dr Gikonyo that she was making great strides in the recovery process.

The husband is opposed to the application by the hospital because it does not inform the court of the nature of the complication that his wife developed during the CS.

Appearing in court yesterday, Omusula, through lawyer Lugano Odhialo, told Justice James Makau that he wanted an independent doctor allowed to access the hospital to assess his wife’s condition.

However, Judge Makau said that was not the issue in court, but rather whether he should allow the hospital to move Jacklyne to KNH or home-based care.

Karen Hospital lawyer said that with each passing day, the bill increases and is now close to Sh30 million.

Judge Makau gave the parties 14 days from Monday this week to reach a settlement only with regard to the issue of transfer.

The case will be mentioned on November 17 to confirm whether parties will have reached a settlement.