Baby Travis death: Government to take action against negligent medics

Baby Travis mother before Senate Committee

Ms Judy Muthoni-mother to the late Travis Maina, who lost his life at Kenyatta National Hospital to injuries caused by a fork Jembe lodged in his head. She was before the Senate Health Committee at Parliament building, Nairobi on October 31, 2022.

Photo credit: Dennis Onsongo I Nation Media Group

The government has said disciplinary action will be taken against any medic found culpable in the deaths of Master Travis Maina, Maureen Anyango and Edward Otieno.

A Ministry of Health’s preliminary investigation report revealed that there was possible medical negligence in the handling of the three cases.

The report by the Kenya Health Professions Oversight Authority (KHPOA) said that Mama Lucy Kibaki Hospital is not adequately prepared to provide quality and responsive emergency care to meet the needs of the population it serves.

KHPOA chief executive officer Dr Jackson Kioko said the initial investigations showed that there were delays in the management of the patient which led to poor maternal outcomes.

Appearing before the Senate Health Committee, Dr Kioko pointed out that there were delays of eight hours that negatively impacted the chances of survival of Ms Anyango.

The first delay was of two hours from failure to reverse the patient from general anaesthesia, another three hours from when the decision was finally made to when an intensive care unit bed was found and another three hours to when an ambulance was found to take the patient to Kiambu Level 5 Hospital.

“While it is worth noting that the hospital made an adequate effort to provide the patient with the appropriate care at this point, it is imperative to acknowledge that perhaps this patient may have had a better outcome if an emergency C-Section was done immediately after admission and if she had benefited from intensive critical care,” said Mr Kioko.

Dr Kioko, however, said the agency is going on with its investigations and a comprehensive report into the inquiry of the deaths will be out next month.

“A detailed report is to be submitted to the senate standing committee on health within 21 days,” Dr Kioko said.

In the case of Mr Otieno, the KHPOA boss said the staff at the Mama Lucy Kibaki Hospital may have inadvertently forgotten about the Accident and Emergency area as they attended to other patients.

Ill-equipped

Dr Kioko said the hospital is understaffed and ill-equipped to respond to the workload, especially in emergency cases.

The hospital serves up to 2,000 outpatients every day, of which 80 to 120 are emergencies. The accident and Emergency section has a capacity of only 11 beds.

“Given the above findings, MLKH is not adequately prepared to provide quality and responsive emergency care to meet the needs of the population that serves it,” Dr Kioko stated.
The report recommended that MLKH clinical health professionals undertaking care in reproductive, maternal, neonatal and child care submit evidence of training in emergency care.

Concerning baby Travis, Dr Kioko explained that an inquiry was underway to establish the conduct of KNH in dealing with the hospital. A comprehensive report will be produced in 30 days.
“Inquiry regarding the conduct of the hospital in dealing with the patient is ongoing, and a comprehensive report will be submitted within 30 days, including disciplinary action where applicable,” Dr Kioko.

However, the Ministry appeared to defend KNH in its handling of the baby. The report sought to justify the more than 20 hours medics at KNH took to commence the operation to remove the jembe.
“In addition, it took another four hours of waiting before commencing the operation due to an ongoing case of an acute extradural haematoma,” Dr Kioko said.

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