Kenya doctors 'perform brain surgery on wrong patient'


A neurosurgeon and medical team were suspended from a Kenyan hospital this week after a tag mix-up resulted in the wrong patient having his skull opened.

An unnamed man who was due to receive only nursing and medication for head swelling was wheeled into the operating theatre on February 19 and underwent a brain surgery meant for someone else.

This happened as the medical workers at the Nairobi hospital had accidentally switched identification tags on the two patients. "The second patient, who was scheduled to go for surgery is, fortunately, also stable, he has been put on treatment and is under watch".

"I apologise to the two patients and their families and especially the patient who was mistakenly operated on", Kariuki said yesterday.

The Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board has written to the management of the hospital to submit a report on the incident by close of business on March 5.

It comes only six weeks after an investigation was ordered into claims that nursing mothers were sexually assaulted by morgue attendants at the same hospital.

She added that the hospital also interdicted a ward nurse, a theatre receiving nurse and an anaesthetist for roles they could have played in the mishap.

In an effort to limit the damage following our enquiries, the hospital's chief operating officer Lily Koros issued a statement announcing the suspension of four medics who were at work on the fateful night.

It wasn't until hours into the surgery that doctors discovered there was no blood clot, according to a report from the BBC news service.

"Doctors are overwhelmed. You find one doctor could be doing 10 to 19 operations [in a day]", he said.

Meanwhile, the doctors' union defended staff, saying the hospital was "overwhelmed" by staff shortages and inadequate operating theatre space.

Some called for the resignation of the hospital's entire board of management in light of the other controversies at the institution.