AIC Kijabe Hospital has been ordered to pay a widow whose husband died in a botched brain surgery Ksh6 million.
In her ruling, Justice Lucy Njuguna cited medical negligence that led to the lead surgeon removing part of Michael Mwangi’s brain instead of a tumour.
The judge ruled that were it not for the medical team’s fatal mistake, Mwangi who died at the age of 37 years would still be alive and providing for his family.
“The deceased was the breadwinner for the family and as a result of his death, the dependents have lost the support that they used to get from him. The court finds that the hospital breached the duty of care owed to the deceased and must compensate his family,” ruled justice Njuguna.
Mwangi’s widow Monica Wairimu had sued the hospital and lead surgeon Leland Albright for the death of her husband claiming general damages and compensation for the pain the hospital subjected him to before he died.
In her statement, she told the court that she took her husband to the hospital in October 2012 after he complained of severe headache.
The doctors told the family that they had discovered a brain tumour which required surgery to remove.
The court heard that Mwangi was admitted on December 16, 2016, and the operation done on December 27, 2012.
Soon after, the woman said, her late husband was taken to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) until January 16, 2013, when he was transferred to the general ward but died seven days later.
An independent pathologist, who carried out a post-mortem, told the family that the doctors had removed part of Mwangi’s brain instead of the tumour hence leading to his death. The report was filed in court.
The hospital and Dr Albright defended themselves referring to a finding by the Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board in April 2016 which concluded that they acted in a professional manner to save Mwangi’s life.
The board had in its ruling dated April 19, 2016, noted that the deceased’s brain was not interfered with as only a small portion of the tumour was removed before excessive bleeding started, forcing the doctor to abandon the surgery.
However, the judge dismissed the defence and the board’s findings, ruling that they did not consider the pathologist’s post-mortem report which showed part of the deceased’s brain had been removed during the operation.
“If a doctor does not act with reasonable care and skill in dealing with a patient, that would be negligence. A person holding himself as possessing a special skill and knowledge when consulted owes a duty to the patient to use due caution in undertaking the treatment,” ruled justice Njuguna.
The judge noted that at the age of 37 the deceased had 18 more years in employment as he was the family’s sole breadwinner. She multiplied his monthly salary with the number of years to retirement and got a total of Ksh5,040,000.
“For the pain and suffering the deceased went through and on loss of expectation of life, I find that the deceased was in hospital for 27 days while suffering at the hands of the doctors and is entitled to damages of KSh650,000,” ruled Njuguna further awarding the widow special damages of Ksh140,000 plus interest.