KNH surgical staff perform brain surgery on the wrong patient, CEO suspended


KNH CEO Lily Koros has been sent on compulsory leave after surgical staff at the Kenyatta National Hospital performed brain surgery of the wrong patient.

Health CS Sicily Kariuki made the announcement amidst the public uproar after the news broke. Also sent home was an officer in charge of clinical affairs.

Before her suspension, Ms Koros had earlier suspended the admission rights of a Neurosurgery Registrar and issued him with a show-cause letter for the apparent mix up.

“The hospital deeply regrets this event and has done all it can to ensure the safety and well-being of the patient in question. We are happy to inform the public that the patient is in recovery and progressing well,” Koros said at the time.

She also said that in addition to the neurosurgery registrar’s suspension,  a ward nurse, a theatre receiving nurse and an anesthetist were also interdicted for roles they could have played in the blunder.

However, doctors reacting to the suspension of their colleague blamed the nurses for the mishap for wrongly labelling the two patients.

“As unit colleagues, we believe that while our friend may have exhibited some procedural shortcomings, the surgery was done on the wrong patient mainly because of wrong patient labelling by the ward staff,” the doctors said.

“Slapping a suspension on our colleague is totally erroneous, victimizing in nature and unwarranted,” they said.

According to a statement by the doctors, the patient was received, as everything seemed usually in order.

“On examination in theatre, the patient was confused ( GCS=13/15) and not able to coherently communicate,” the statement read.

The Craniotomy procedure was done and by one of their colleagues but noticed during surgery that brain seemed normal with obvious signs of an ICH- the indication for the surgery.

He then called the second Registrar (a senior) on call, who also could not find the hematoma.

“The consultant on call was informed, who confirmed the negative craniotomy and made the decision to close and ask for an immediate head CT to re-evaluate the patient,” they said.

The doctors said during this time, the ward was called a total of three times and confirmed the identity of the patient on all occasions.

“On the morning of February 20 at 6 am, as the Dr (Registrar colleague) was preparing to write the OT notes, the ward called alleging that the patient brought in the night was a wrong one,” the message by the doctors said.

KNH administration suspended the admission rights of a Neurosurgery Registrar and issued him with a show-cause letter for apparently performing brain surgery a wrong patient.

They are also issued with show-cause letters to explain what happened within seven days.