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Hospital ordered to pay widow Ksh 6 million over medical negligence during brain surgery

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AIC Kijabe Hospital has been ordered to pay a widow Ksh 6 million over medical negligence that saw the doctors remove part of her husband’s brain instead of a tumor.

Monica Mwangi sued the hospital for general damages and compensation for the loss of her husband Michael Mwangi. She argued that the hospital subjected Mwangi to immense pain during his final moments.

Michael Mwangi had been complaining of constant headaches in October 2012, and Monica took him to the hospital upon which the doctors discovered a brain tumor which required surgery.

This led the team of doctors headed by surgeon Leland Albright to perform the surgery in December 2012. Soon after, Mwangi was taken to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and died seven days later.

An independent pathologist carried out a post-mortem and discovered that the doctors had removed part of Mwangi’s brain instead of the tumor. This prompted Monica to sue the hospital and the pathologist filed the post-mortem as evidence in court.

The lead surgeon, Albright, in his defense, argued that the team of doctors had not interfered with the patient’s brain, but removed only a small part of the tumor that led to excessive bleeding forcing the doctors to opt out of the surgery.

The Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board came to the doctors’ defense, and absolved them from any wrongdoing arguing that the doctors did their best to save Mwangi’s life.

Justice Lucy Njuguna, however, argued that the evidence filed by the pathologist could not be overlooked hence she ruled in favour of the widow and awarded her Ksh6 million as compensation.

“If a doctor does not act with reasonable care and skill in dealing with a patient, that would be negligence. A person holding himself as possessing a special skill and knowledge when consulted owes a duty to the patient to use due caution in undertaking the treatment,” Justice Njuguna stated.

She noted that the 37-year-old patient had an approximate 18 years left in employment as he was the breadwinner of his family. She came to the conclusion of Ksh 6 million by multiplying the number of years to retirement by his salary of Ksh 35,000 per month.

“For the pain and suffering the deceased went through and on loss of expectation of life, I find that the deceased was in hospital for 27 days while suffering at the hands of the doctors and is entitled to damages of Sh650,000. Monica is to also receive special damages worth Ksh 140,000 plus interest” Njuguna stated.