A 28 year old accountancy student at Kenya College of Accountancy has been detained at Radiant Hospital in Pangani for what seems like an eternity.
Dennis Omondi was involved in a hit and run accident in the capital’s Central Business District (CBD).
Initially, the victim was rushed to Guru Nanak Hospital but was later referred to Radiant Hospital with a knee injury.
He has been here for 111 days and his hospital bill is over Sh1 million.
“I got involved in an accident and sustained a knee fracture. I was taken into a county ambulance and rushed to a nearby hospital, which happened to be Radiant Hospital,” Omondi told a local daily.
He underwent knee surgery and was due to be discharged on April 4. Then, the bill was at Sh300,000. Daily charges were Sh8,000.
Speaking to the Star, the accountancy student said that at some point the hospital urged him to go to the bank and withdraw his savings.
He only had some Sh21,000 in his account.
Running out of options, Omondi contacted nongovernmental organisations for help. Amnesty International came to his aid.
The rights organisation contacted the hospital and urged them to slash the bill to Sh860,000.
On Wednesday, Amnesty International wrote to the hospital threatening to take legal action for illegally detaining the patient.
“We remind ..[the] hospitals that unlawful detention is a contravention of Articles 29 and 39 of the Constitution and the fundamental human rights of patients,” AI executive director Houghton Irungu said.
“This 111-day detention infringes on his human dignity, liberty and freedom. It is shocking this would be happening when the country is confronting a pandemic and hundreds of patients with Covid-19 are seeking medical treatment. We demand his release immediately.”
Omondi had promised, in writing, to pay the bill after November.
“I promised in writing to start paying Sh25,000 a month or whatever I could after I recovered because currently I have nothing. They refused,” Omondi said.
A local blog reports that the hospital admitted to Omondi getting into a verbal exchange with one of their staff members while discussing a possible payment plan.
“We have established that in the course of the negotiations for a payment plan, discussions became acrimonious leading to a verbal exchange with one of our staff. We have apologised to the patient for this and the staff in question has been cautioned and counselled,” Radiant Hospital Group CEO Salome Chiira is quoted.
The hospital also denied detaining the patient, noting that a payment plan is still going through the internal approval process.