Hospital under scrutiny after ‘medical intern’ cons patient of Sh195,131

Kitale County Referral Hospital in Trans Nzoia county

Kitale County Referral Hospital in Trans Nzoia county.

Photo credit: Gerald Bwisa | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • The ‘medical trainee’ obtained the money falsely from the patient’s sister who lives abroad

  • The hospital medical superintendent told the patient’s family that they had been conned by the intern and advised them to formally report the matter to the police

Trans Nzoia County’s Health department is under scrutiny after a medical intern allegedly conned a patient Sh195,131 at Kitale County Referral Hospital.

Jimmy Maleya was admitted to the hospital on August 8 and placed under the care of a medical officer identified as Nashon Simotwa Chebeo, who introduced himself as a doctor.

Mr Maleya was with his parents, wife and sister.

His father, Levi Karani, 77, who resides at Bidii farm in Kwanza constituency, told the Nation that his daughter Terry exchanged contacts with the medical officer to get updates on her brother as she was flying out of Kenya the following day.

"My daughter requested the medical officer to take good care of her brother as she was travelling to the US and exchanged contacts for follow-up communication on his health," Mr Karani said.

'Special drug'

While Mr Maleya was in hospital, the medical officer obtained Sh195,131 allegedly for treatment from Terry. He claimed to have requested a special drug to treat the patient, and that it had to be flown in immediately from Nairobi.

“He requested that I send money to purchase a certain antifungal drug which could not be found in Kitale and the industry could not release the drug, unless he went personally to pick it up in Nairobi,” claimed Terry.

In WhatsApp messages presented at the Kitale Police Station as evidence, the intern kept demanding funds from Terry and she kept sending it, believing that she was helping her brother.

“When we realised we had been conned, we approached the medical superintendent, who told us we had been conned by the intern and advised us to formally report the matter to the police,” said Mr Karani, Mr Maleya’s father.

The family reported the matter at the Kitale Police Station. They recorded statements and the police promised to investigate.

“We will carry out thorough investigations to ensure that justice is served. The family has recorded a statement and we have opened an inquest file on the matter,” said Trans Nzoia County Police Commander Jacinta Wesonga.

Disciplinary inquiry

Trans Nzoia Health executive Claire Wanyama said they have also set up a disciplinary committee to investigate the incident.

“The committee is liaising with police to carry out investigations,” Ms Wanyama said.

The question now is how the intern was given so much influence at the hospital, with reports emerging that interns are used by medical staff there to con patients in a racket that has been going on for a long time.

'Trainee' disowned

Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), where the intern claimed to be a student, disowned him and said they don’t condone such behavior.

"None of our students were on internship for the said period. We don’t condone such behaviour and any of our students who may be found doing such will be dismissed immediately," said a lecturer, who sought anonymity. 

He said medical students usually go through internships once they complete their studies, adding that it is the Ministry of Health and the county Health department who post them.

"The person in question is more of a clinical officer than a student," he noted.

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