The High Court has ordered the Nairobi Women’s Hospital to offer a Sh1 million compensation to a former patient who was denied her medical records in the lady’s hospitilisation and the death of her newborn.
Justice Hedwig Ong’undi said the hospital failed to obey the law in denying the woman full access to her medical records following a stay at the facility during her pregnancy.
The woman was a patient at the hospital for pre-natal and post-natal care and delivered a pre-term baby after a cesarean operation on May 17, 2018
The baby was transferred to the intensive care unit where she eventually died.
The judge declined the woman’s request for an order to enforce the decision of the Commission on Administrative Justice (CAJ) directing the health facility to release the information.
Justice Ong’undi hinged her ruling on the hospital’s explanation that it could not trace the records sought by the patient.
“The respondents (hospital and its CEO) have since February 2019 made it clear that the records are lost/missing, granting leave for enforcement of the CAJ’s decision will not make things any better. The respondents will be brought back here for non-compliance. The court does not issue orders in vain,” said the judge.
The court however appreciated that the hospital’s resident doctor, Dr Fredrick Kairithia, in his replying affidavit to the case lodged by the woman annexed a full medical report showing the services rendered to her at the health facility.
However, the woman did not react to the report on whether it fully responded to what she wanted. The doctor had also indicated that he was available to answer any issues which would be raised by her and her team.
“In as much as the information given may not have fully answered her inquiry, I find that her failure to react to the report was not fair to the respondents (the hospital and its CEO),” stated Justice Ong’undi.
The woman said her efforts to get information on her pregnancy have been futile.