KNH doctors go slow over wrong surgery sanction

The Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG
The Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Registrars have boycotted work at the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) in Nairobi after their colleague was suspended over a botched brain surgery that sparked public outrage.

A registrar is a doctor who is receiving advanced training in a specialist field of medicine to become a consultant.

The 700 medical Master’s students on Monday said they would not resume work until the referral hospital resolves systemic issues, which have been partly blamed for the medical mishap.

They alleged victimisation of their colleague who was sent home after opening the skull of the wrong patient following a mix-up in identification tags.

Four medics— the neurosurgeon, ward nurse, theatre receiving nurse, and anaesthetist — were suspended for their alleged role in the surgery.

The registrars held a meeting with officials of the Kenya Medical Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) in the morning.

They are now demanding suspension of the consultant who oversaw the bungled operation.

“The consultant is always on call to address any issues that arise during such surgeries,” said the source who requested to remain anonymous for fear of victimisation.
“He is the person with the maximum responsibility as he oversees everything that happens in the theatre”.

While in training, a registrar works under the supervision of a consultant.

Consultants, while defending their colleague, also feel that the registrar’s suspension went a step too far.

“If you punish people for reporting or identifying errors, they will stop reporting them. The eventual sufferer will be the patient,” said our source.

The hospital’s CEO Lily Koros and her deputy Bernard Githae and director of clinical services were last week sent on compulsory leave to allow investigations into the incident.