Woman targets rehab after depressed son throws himself into Indian Ocean

Relatives attending the burial of Martin Njuguna August 18, 2020, at Langata Cemetry, Nairobi. 

Photo credit: Courtesy | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

Mary Wanjiru, 42, is not a happy mother. In July this year, she noticed that her son, Martin Njuguna, 25, had started talking to himself, was confused and somehow violent at the slightest provocation.

The family, after frequent visits to Kiambu hospitals, was told that their son was suffering from depression.

Disturbed by the turn of events, Ms Wanjiru reached out to Gatundu South Member of Parliament Moses Kuria for help. It was a case of a desperate mother out to save her son’s life.

The MP, touched by the family’s situation and the financial woes they were going through, advanced Sh13,000 to the family and later recommended Njuguna’s family to a rehabilitation centre named Eden House in Likoni.

And, on July 22, 2020, Mr Njuguna was admitted at Eden House Likoni.

But, on August 9, he went missing from the rehabilitation centre. He was later found dead after climbing a cliff and throwing himself into the Indian Ocean.

The turn of events has kicked off a row between the rehab centre and Mr Njuguna’s family.

The family has now threatened to sue for compensation citing negligence that led to their son’s death.

“The deceased was your patient at your institution under your care and observation undergoing psychological and counselling treatment when on or about August 9, 2020 was reported to be missing from your facility. That a search was commenced by the family members and a report of a missing person was made at Likoni Police Station vide OB NO. 25/9/8/2020 and a circular was issued by the officer commanding Likoni Police Station to that effect,” reads a letter by Maingi Kamau & Co Advocates on behalf of Mr Njuguna’s mother to Eden House Likoni.

Remains were found

“On August 12, 2020, his remains were found, collected and kept at Coast General Hospital mortuary. As an institution placed with the care and duty of the deceased, your conduct before and after the said incident was so wanting that it amounted to professional negligence. Our instructions are that you failed in your duty by allowing the deceased to leave your institution without detecting and that you were careless and negligent on your part. Our instructions are to demand, and we hereby do, your immediate admission of liability to our client’s claim and the issue of quantum payable as compensation to our client for loss of life, damages,” the letter reads further.

When the Daily Nation contacted Eden House Rehabilitation Centre in Likoni, Mr Anthony Njeru, a director, agreed that Njuguna was their patient by the time he met his death.

"Monetise the situation”

However, he accused the family of trying to “monetise the situation” yet they accorded them full support during NJuguna’s burial last month.

“Njuguna was recommended to us by Gatundu South Member of Parliament Moses Kuria after his family sought help from him. When Njuguna was brought to us, he was disillusioned, restless and we tried our best to restore him. However, as agreed, the family, which was supposed to pay for medication to cater for their son, never fulfilled their obligation. On numerous occasions, Njuguna  had tried to escape from our facility but was restrained. Unfortunately, he succeeded in his fourth attempt. Eyewitnesses who saw him told us that he jumped off the cliff into the Indian Ocean,” said Mr Njeru.

This was not the first time Mary Wanjiru was trying to save her son's life.

In December last year, she interrupted President Uhuru Kenyatta's speech when he attended a Sunday service at Ruiru Catholic Church seeking the Head of State's help to foot the son’s bill at St Mulumba Hospital where he had been admitted for depression.

Touched by her confidence, the Head of State restrained his bodyguards from pushing her off the dais and, through State House Comptroller Kinuthia Mbugua, Mr Kenyatta cleared the Sh480,000 bill that the family owed to the hospital.

Yesterday, Ms Wanjiru told the Nation that although she buried her son last month at Langata Cemetery in Nairobi, she wants justice to prevail.