Revealed: Cause of baby's death at Shalom Hospital

Shalom Community Hospital.

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A hospital in Machakos town has been closed days after a seven-month-old baby died due to alleged medical negligence.

Governor Alfred Mutua yesterday ordered that Shalom Community Hospital be closed for failing to meet set standards of operation.

Patients admitted to the hospital were to be transferred to other facilities within 48 hours.

Mutua issued the directive after holding a closed-door meeting with the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board, the Nursing Council of Kenya, the Pharmacy and Poisons Board and the hospital’s administration.

The decision was triggered by an incident last Sunday in which the seven-month-old baby, Ethan Muendo, died after being injected with an overdose of morphine.

Morphine is a strong pain medication of the opiate family which may cause respiratory failure.

Prof Fred Were, who led a team of the Kenya Medical Board officials, said investigations into the incident revealed that the person who administered the drug on the baby was unqualified.

“We found out that the person who administered the drug has never undergone any training in any medical field. The baby died as a result of an overdose of morphine which should not have been prescribed at that stage in the first place,” he said.

The hospital, with a branch in Athi River had been put on the spot for employing unlicensed personnel and failure to observe standard operating procedures.

Machakos County Governor Dr. Alfred Mutua (right) speaks during his tour ofShalom Community Hospital on May 6, 2019.

Simple procedure

A fortnight ago, Kenya Medical Board and Machakos County officials visited the Athi River branch on a fact-finding mission after an expectant mother delivered on the floor as nurses had tea.

Kenya Medical Board Chief Executive Officer Daniel Yumbya said a report on the probe of the Athi River branch would be out this Friday.

Earlier yesterday, Machakos County journalists led protests against the hospital in solidarity with their bereaved colleague.

Ethan’s father, Jonathan Muendo said prior to the injection, his son was playful.

“My son has never been hospitalised since birth. We were only seeking a simple procedure of dressing the wound which was caused by hot water from a dispenser,” said Muendo who is a correspondent with KBC.

The governor said Machakos Level Five Hospital and Kathiani Level Four Hospital would admit the patients transferred from Shalom Community Hospital, and would treat them for free.

Mutua also called for the arrest of the hospital’s proprietor, the administrator and the pharmacist on claims of medical negligence. The proprietor George Onyango refused to talk.