Shameez Bank: Should I Lose Faith in Healthcare at Nairobi’s Aga Khan University Hospital?

By Shameez Bank


Let me begin by saying, after my husband had a very trying experience in CCU, Aga khan hospital from the 25th March till he walked out of CCU on the 28th March I used to have a lot of faith in Aga khan hospital. In fact, when we reached out to a few people to discuss how sad it is we laugh over how bad our experience was at the top hospital in Kenya, friends urged us including our insurance company to reach out and speak to the CEO of Aga khan hospital, Mr. Shawn Boulouki. After an email to his secretary explaining my husband as a heart patient had received below average care in CCU, and our concern now grew for the Kenyan people who never voice their terrible or fatal experiences we were so glad the CEO agreed to see us straight away. My husband not allowed to drive for 4 weeks, drove down to Aga Khan because this was important. He was supposed to be in hospital carrying out tests to rule out why his heart nearly failed.

We walked into the boardroom, full of the nurses in CCU and head of casualty and emergency unit amongst others. We were surprised however thought it wise everyone there considering our experience began from Emergency in Aga Khan. Allow me for the laymen to explain what emergency means: “A serious, unexpected and often dangerous situation requiring IMMEDIATE action”.

Sadly, my meeting with the CEO lasted no longer than 7 minutes. 5 of which we were abused, shouted at and threatened with his Security guard Robert Tack. Let me explain to you how this happen, after a very cold greeting from himself he turned to me and asked me “yes, what is it”? This took me aback but I proceeded to explain I will do the brief as my husband has just had a procedure done with his heart 2 days ago and was not allowed any form of stress. This is all I managed to explain: we called the doctor explaining my husband had fallen on the floor in intense pain at Westgate, the pain from his arm, back and now jaw was unbearable and so I called the doctor saying we are rushing in. he asked us to come to emergency. Upon reaching emergency we had to wait 7 minutes to get someone’s attention to get a bed” and this is when Mr. Shawn Boulouki took it upon his self to begin shouting at me that if there is no bed in emergency there is no bed. (so, if my husband dies, he dies). He then went on to tell me private doctors get to practice at the hospital as a privilege and scream at me that I should have the patience to wait and the doctor has zero authority to even ask a nurse for the bed so and ECG could urgently be carried out. Why was emergency care critical for us, because my husband had just had a heart attack in Dubai 8 months ago and this was not supposed to happen.

Before I tell you that the CEO, a leader, was screaming at my husband pointing a finger in his nose and telling him to get out or his security will throw him out allow me to explain the role of a leader: “simply put, a leader is the inspiration and director of action. The company and employees are a reflection of yourself and you make honest and ETHICAL behaviour as a key value, your team will follow”

This all happen and yet my 4-day ordeal with the hospital had not been told to Shawn Boulouki as of 29th March.

Let’s look at how my husband was treated aboard when he had a heart attack, from the time the ambulance placed an ECG on his heart to the time his stent was put in was 45 minutes. It’s known as the golden hour. This is when you safe the heart from any muscle damage or a second heart attack.

Recording from the incident

Let’s look at how we were treated the second time round at Aga Khan Hospital: we rush in to emergency, my husband feels dizzy, weak, needs to just lay down, took 7 minutes to get a bed… after which took another 20 minutes to get the ECG machine, after which the machine was broken! Yes, the doctors know how to read the broken machine to make out that his heart is safe! The nurse had to hold the wires tightly together to get a reading. According the doctors it was accurate enough.

Never mind it took 2hrs to get a bed in CCU, but once we got to CCU allow me to tell you my Experience since the CEO was not interested and (we are still in utter shock, not only wounded and hurt but utter shock that this is how we were treated after he called us in and did not even hear what we can to politely and in hope and love for our hospital explain)

When we got into room 6, there was water all over the floor from a dialysis machine. Not cleaned for 4 hrs. The bed was broken, the air conditioning was not working and the room was FULL of mosquitoes. We politely asked the nurse if someone could fix the bed so my husband did not have to pop up on an elbow. From 8pm no technician. The technician did decide to show up at 4am in the morning and wake my husband to fix the bed. It worked… till 10am when he tried to sit up. It was not fixed for 5hrs after. The Air conditioning was never fixed.
The ECG machine that was used on my husband to check his heart after his surgery on Tuesday showed abnormal heart. That successfully managed to get my husband and I in a panic. However, we laughed it off with the nurses after the 3rd attempt when she said these were faulty and the 4th test showed his heart is strong. Yes, we laughed it off. I wonder if this should be so acceptable considering a bed in CCU costs over KSH 40,000/- a day.

They then connected my husband to a monitor, that kept going off every 7 minutes showing he flatlined. All guests in the room took it upon themselves at first to see how fast with that blazing sound does a nurse respond… 1 minute 4 seconds… yes, I went into the corridor looked for a nurse, knocked on ICU window to get anyone’s attention to switch it off. What is that was a real emergency? My husband would be dead again! Anyhow after we watched her press the silence button and say the wires are loose, and she will fix it once the guests have gone we waited. After the wires were fixed, the machine would jump on his heart rate from 40 to 85 to 25 to 90… so in CCU my husband took of the wires because the machine would not stop going off and he could not sleep. No one knew, no one checked.

Another Recording;

Forget the fact that one of the other patients was so upset he wanted to sleep and had been waiting for his medication from 8pm till 12pm.

On the 28th Thursday march 2019, the doctors requested a test be done at 9:30am which was done on fasting. He was also requested to hold his urine as it was needed every half an hour for the tests. At 10:30am he requested a basin so he could freshen up. Till 1:30pm nether the test was done nor that he been able to just freshen up. Why? Because he was the one chasing the nurses for the juice he had to drink, telling them he really needed the washroom however the nurses were so busy they could not attend to him at all! He did not manage to do the test and when one of the nurses walked in and asked my husband why did you say I have not given you the bath for 3hrs, its only been 2hrs this is when my husband as a heart patient packed his bags and walked out of CCU, not stopped, to see his doctors. His doctors had no choice but to allow him to go home and get the rest he needs to recover and make us do these tests privately! This is why we are in CCU?

My heart saddens and I only hope and pray the people I saw in ICU that cannot speak get the attention they need. That the lack of care, machines and staff we endured for 4 days no one else has to go through. What is happening in casualty is this is the CCU section. My husband was not allowed to go to pavilion so he could receive the personalised care.

READ: Cancer Patient Denied Healthcare Services At Kenyatta Hospital For Failing To Pay Ksh1,950

And after a week of this and the panic of having my husband home instead of in CCU where I would rather he had been till he was told to go home made me question why should this go unheard. And now that the CEO, Mr. Shawn Boulouki behaved so badly with us in front of his own staff only empowers them to behave the same way. He sets the standards.
All the staff in the room saw that after Mr. Shawn had his lawyer intimidate us and his Guard Robert Tack intimidate us my husband had to sit down to breathe. He left unwell. This was not what we were expecting. And then we were told the CEO will not apologise nor come back into the meeting he organised and walked out off. Today, 29th March, Dr. Madgid called to say the CEO will meet us again, however we were told on the phone to have no expectations he is not interested in apologising for how we were treated, we were also advised not to bring up how he had behaved at this will ANGER Mr. Shawn (CEO).

We feel robbed and violated. As I lay in bed last night and I felt butterflies in my stomach from all the nervous energy of the week, I realised after the ordeal we had just been though this week dealing with an illness no one deserves to ever be treated this way. Let alone be let down by a hospital that prides itself of its high standards. But here I am, 4 days of being in the top facility in Nairobi I left with no faith in our care. And my husband and I realised we must speak. We must be a voice for the person that can not get a bed in emergency and his situation got worse because of a lack of care, response time and now I see the over view of a CEO that still never heard me out.

It’s not acceptable that we sit around dinner tables after visiting ill people and discuss how we have nowhere else to go. If Aga khan is the best as it advertises, and this is our experience, what do we do? If I can’t turn to the CEO of the organisation and even voice what happen with the intension no one else should suffer, what do we do? Where are we headed with health care in this country? Must I travel out of my home country for a second opinion every time? Why am I told the board of trustees by close people in the organisation will do nothing? Why am I told unless I speak to princess Zahra nothing will change? Why are we left feeling alone after what we endured? Who will answer all these questions? Who will be the standard for health here? When will I no longer be a statistic in complaints taken to this hospital? Who will stand with us to ensure no one else should ever be treated this way?

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Written by Kahawa Tungu


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