Boy, 2, with jembe lodged in head dies at Kenyatta Hospital

Kenyatta National Hospital

According to the boy’s mother, the toddler died on the surgeon’s table. 

Photo credit: File | Phoebe Okall | Nation Media Group

The two-year-old boy whose photos went viral for having a fork jembe (digging hoe) lodged in his head died on the evening of October 11, 2022, after allegedly having to wait for too long before receiving emergency treatment at the Kenyatta National Hospital.

According to the boy’s mother, the toddler died on the surgeon’s table.

He had been rushed to KNH, the biggest referral hospital in East and Central Africa, after initially being rushed to Thika Level V Hospital. 

She had decried delays from KNH staff at the Casualty Wing, saying they were told the medics were attending to a different emergency.

As Kenyans went into uproar into how the hospital could allegedly keep the baby waiting long in the emergency wing, the hospital was forced to issue a statement to explain why they delayed taking the baby to Theatre immediately.

“The patient had lost a lot of blood and as a result, the clotting process was not occurring as expected, thereby, delaying the surgical procedure as this would have been dangerous to the patient. 

The patient has since been stabilized and is currently undergoing a delicate operation at the KNH,” read the statement issued on October 11, 2022.

The child was injured while playing with his siblings and friends near his home. One of the children found the fork jembe and began running after the other children with it before he allegedly hit the two-year-old with it. 

Scans revealed the jembe lodged in his head and into his brain.

The news of the baby’s death was met with uproar from Kenyans who accused the hospital of negligence while others tried defending the doctors who had to wait for the baby to stabilize first.

“We can blame negligence all we want but these doctors have their hands tied in some cases so they really want to help but laws make them wait for certain procedures and that needs to be addressed,” said MTU.

“What is the purpose of an accident and emergency facility in a national hospital? Neglecting the life in the hands of the surgeons in order to survive in this country you should have a connection at least in the government. RIP young soul,” raged Kipkemoi Prestige.

Others sent out prayers for and condolences to the mother.

“Very hurting. May the young soul rest in eternal peace. We also rebuke the spirit of premature death in Jesus’ name,” added Sandra Chumba Sheba.