What you need to know:
- The deceased, identified as Agnes Mutuku, 35, was referred to the facility from Taveta Sub County Hospital for specialised treatment.
- The patient and her kin were told to wait in the ambulance until the hospital made arrangements for an emergency team to receive her.
A family in Taita Taveta County is mourning the death of their kin who was left unattended in an ambulance at the Moi County Referral Hospital in Voi on Wednesday.
The patient was left waiting for almost an hour at the hospital after medics at the casualty department claimed they had not received necessary information about the patient's transfer from the referral facility.
The deceased, identified as Agnes Mutuku, 35, was referred to the facility from Taveta Sub County Hospital for specialised treatment.
According to her niece, Maria Wakesho, the deceased was admitted at the Taveta Sub County Hospital with gynaecological issues on Wednesday morning but they were told she needed urgent attention at a bigger hospital.
She was put in an ambulance and they left for Moi County Referral Hospital around 2pm but when they arrived at the facility, they were shocked to find that their patient could not be admitted. They were told to wait in the ambulance until the hospital made arrangements for an emergency team to receive her.
“We waited but no one came to attend to her. We kept going to the casualty to ask for help, but we did not get any help,” Ms Wakesho said.
Ms Wakesho said her aunt was in pain and was struggling to breathe. With no helping coming through, he condition worsened and she eventually died.
Ms Wakesho claimed they waited in the ambulance for more than one hour and 30 minutes.
“We screamed and the medics came and took her to try to resuscitate her. She did not respond, she had died,” she said.
The family is now faulting the family for failing to save their kin's life.
“How can they let someone die like that? How can they be so careless and heartless? They are supposed to help people. They should have given her a chance to live. She did not deserve to die like that,” Wakesho said.
According to the family, the deceased has left behind three children, aged between 15 and seven, who depended on her for their education and livelihood.
“She was the sole breadwinner of her family. This is a big blow to the family,” she said.
In response, the County Executive for Health Gifton Mkaya said they are investigating the matter and officers who will be found responsible will face disciplinary action.
Mkaya said the hospital regretted the incident and would take appropriate action to prevent a recurrence.
“We regret the loss of life and we offer our condolences to the family. We are doing our best to provide quality healthcare to all,” he said.
Mr Mkaya acknowledged the delay, attributing it to glitches in adhering to the national referral policy which requires the referring facility must inform the receiving hospital about the expected patient.
The CEC said according to CCTV footage captured at the hospital, the patient arrived at the hospital at 3:26pm.
"The paramedic who had accompanied the patient and a relative handed over the medical reports at the casualty but unfortunately the patient was left in the ambulance for about 58 minutes," he explained.
He admitted that the team could however have responded quickly to save the life of the patient.
"We have deliberated and concluded that the officers be subjected to disciplinary action because they did not do their work as required," he said.
The incident comes barely two months after a family alleged that their child died due to lack of treatment at the same hospital.
The family claimed that the eight-year-old boy died in the hospital after waiting for nine hours for a CT scan that would have helped him to get treatment.
To address cases of negligence and poor service delivery at the county referral hospital, Mr Mkaya announced that they have formed a task force to audit the operations and recommend improvements.
"We have received complaints about the hospital to come up with a strategy in the next 30 days on how to turn around service delivery for our clients," he said.
He said the county government is addressing the issues facing the health sector and assured the residents of quality and affordable healthcare.
The CEC said the county is also upgrading and equipping other health facilities in the region to ease the burden on the referral hospital.