Drama in Kericho after patient presumed dead is taken to mortuary

Kapkatet Sub-County Hospital

Kapkatet Sub-County Hospital where a patient was on November 25, 2020 mistakenly declared dead and taken to the mortuary.

Photo credit: Vitalis Kimutai | Nation Media Group

Kapkatet Sub-County Referral Hospital in Kericho County is on the spot after a patient who was presumed dead was transferred to the mortuary.

But an hour later, the 32-year-old man screamed loudly from the mortuary after he regained consciousness, sending shocked attendants into panic.

One of the attendants is reported to have been preparing to preserve the “body” when the patient started screaming.

The patient had earlier been rushed to the hospital after he fainted at his rural home in Bureti Sub-County on Tuesday.

He was wheeled to the hospital’s casualty ward where clinical officers, who are said to have been attending to four other patients, told his relatives to wait for their turn to be served.

His family said that half an hour later, doctors informed them that their relative had passed on and the body would be taken to the mortuary.

Kapkatet Sub-County Hospital

Kericho MCAs on November 25, 2020 peruse admission documents at Kapkatet Sub-County Hospital where a patient had been mistakenly declared dead and taken to the mortuary.

Photo credit: Vitalis Kimutai | Nation Media Group

Wheeled to mortuary

The “dead” patient was wheeled to the mortuary an hour later where he was placed on a platform waiting to be processed for preservation in the cooling chamber.

But a few minutes later, his relatives were shocked when they were called in by the mortuary attendant who was baffled by the “resurrection of the patient”, a rare occurrence.

“When he fainted at home, we used a Toyota Probox to rush him to hospital where doctors said he had passed on. We were shocked to be told later by the mortuary attendants that he was still alive,” his younger brother told journalists at the hospital on Wednesday.

Doctors at the hospital rushed the patient to the emergency ward where he was resuscitated and taken to the ward where he is currently undergoing treatment.

“I found myself in the mortuary and the attendant was cutting part of my body in what I was later told was meant to provide an inlet for preservation drugs to be inserted,” said the patient from his hospital bed.

He said that he could not explain how he ended up in the hospital or the mortuary although he had been unwell for some time.

“I thank God that I am here alive as I had been certified dead. I hope to recover and join my family,” he said.

Investigations launched

Dr Gilbert Cheruiyot, the hospital’s medical superintendent, said the matter is being investigated and a comprehensive report would be issued later.

“What we have on record as a preliminary report is that the patient was brought in by the family members who had declared him dead and took him to the mortuary in a breach of protocol at the facility,” said Dr Cheruiyot.

Dr Cheruiyot said the mortuary attendant informed the administration that the patient was still alive, leading to his being rushed to the emergency ward.

“It took the doctors almost an hour to fully resuscitate the patient, stabilise him and admit him to the ward,” said Dr Cheruiyot who noted that any lapses that might have occurred would be addressed once a full report is ready.

The patient has previously been admitted and treated at the hospital and several other public and private facilities in the region according to doctors and relatives.

MCAs demand answers

Members of the Kericho County Assembly Wednesday morning suspended proceedings to discuss the matter after it was raised by Cheplanget Ward MCA Hezborn Tonui who demanded that a comprehensive report be tabled in the House by the County Health Executive Shadrack Mutai.

Mr Tonui demanded an explanation on how the patient was declared dead, who was the resident doctor, the nurses on duty and the nurse in charge.

“Please provide information on the circumstances that led to the patient being pronounced dead while still alive and the procedures done on him while at the morgue…what plans has the department put in place to avert such a crisis?” asked Mr Tonui.

The assembly formed an ad hoc committee of nine members to look into the matter and table a report within five days.

Later in the afternoon, the MCAs toured the hospital where they interviewed doctors and relatives of the patient. They also perused admission and treatment documents at the hospital.

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