Hospital’s handling of patient elicits outrage

Wednesday, August 12th, 2020 00:00 | By
The late Finike Ifeza. Photo/PD/File

A hospital in Kisii is on the spot over the handling of a Covid-19 patient.

The family of Finike Ifeza, who died of Covid-19, has accused Oasis Specialist Hospital Limited of not only mishandling her body, but also violating safety protocols on the pandemic. 

They have now threatened to seek legal redress. In a demand letter through lawyer Jared Gekombe, the family has accused the facility of dumping the body of Ifeza, 75, at its parking lot.

The letter indicates that no public health officer was called to handle the body as per the Ministry of Health regulations, risking lives of those who handled it.

The letter is copied to Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe, Governor James Ongwae, Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board CEO Daniel Yumbya and Kenya National Commission on Human Rights chair Kagwiria Mbogori.

The lawyer claims the hospital acted carelessly and negligently in treating Ifeza over claims that she had the virus.

In the letter, the lawyer says: “Unless you admit liability within seven days, we have firm instructions to sue you for recovery of the inflated medical expense, compensation for medical negligence and damages for emotional distress plus costs and interest.”

Ifeza’s son, Fred Ayunga, said they tried to get a certificate showing that the mother had died of Covid-19 from the hospital in vain, adding the management told them to request it through writing or a court order.

Ayunga claims the hospital, which has no morgue, kept the body for five days and released it to the family without protective gears.

The family was forced to take it to Nyamache Hospital Mortuary after Oasis warned other regional hospitals not to take it in.

Ayunga says it took the intervention of County Director of Health Dr Richard Onkware to secure mortuary services after other morgues declined to accept the body.

He claims the body was taken home and buried in a shallow grave. He alleges that gloves by health staff were left littering in the compound, saying it is regrettable that children ended up playing with them.

He noted that his  her mother was weak, but the hospital never informed the family that they had carried out the Covid-19 tests.

Lung condition

Ayunga said his mother had been suffering from lung condition and he linked doctors and nurses who were treating her  in the US and agreed they drain excess water in her lungs to enable her breath.

Contacted on phone, Onkware confirmed results obtained from Kenya Medical Research Institute Kisumu, showed that she was Covid-19 positive.

He denied claims by the family that health care workers who buried the body left the gloves in the compound.

County Health Executive Committee Member Sarah Omache said she held a meeting with the family and agreed that they should be tested of Covid-19 to avoid being stigmatised.

“We guided and counselled the family to accept and move on. We will seek clarification from the hospital on the allegations they leveled against it” Omache told People Daily.

The CEC said they took necessary measures by fumigating the body and the body bag. 

Ms Omache has appealed to residents to take precaution and wear masks appropriately especially in public places.  

 She also urged private hospitals, which cannot handle suspected Covid-19 patients to refer them to Kisii Teaching and Referral’s Isolation and Treatment Centre. The hospitals have specialised staff to handle the pandemic.  

Oasis’ Communication and Public Relations Officer, Joash Keresi condoled the family, saying the management cannot take offence with them for actions taken in grief and associated with anger.

In a statement to the press on behalf of Oasis Health care Group, Keresi said the hospital’s management has contacted the family and they will address the grievances internally. 

More on News