Health News

Officers interdicted as mystery of ambulance deaths deepens

Health CEC Esther Somoire suspends driver and nurse who were in the ill-fated ambulance

By Albert Lemomo

The mystery surrounding the death of an expectant woman and her sick child has deepened following the interdiction of officers who were in the ambulance that was rushing them to the Kajiado County Referral Hospital.

Kajiado County CEC for Health, Esther Somoire, on Monday, January 27, suspended the two — a driver and a nurse — following outcry from members of the public.

Angry residents are demanding to know how the mother managed to open the door of the speeding ambulance and throw herself onto the tarmac. There is conflicting information as to what actually transpired leading to the deaths.

The CEC, while addressing the press inher office, maintained that the woman was in the company of a nurse at the back of the ambulance, which is contrary to accounts by eyewitnesses.

An eyewitness who sought anonymity told the Kajiado Star that the woman and her child were alone at the back of the ambulance. “It is absolutely shocking and unimaginable that a patient can be transferred to another hospital without being under the care of a medical official at the back of the ambulance,” said the source.

The source alleged that the nurse was sitting with the driver at the front and that is howthey failed to realise early that the mother had jumped out of the car. “They went upto Kumpa and then turned around asking us if we had seen a patient who had jumped out of the car,” added the source.

The CEC, who promised to get to “the bottom of the matter”noted that the safety of patients is paramount irrespective of whether they are in a health facility or in an ambulance. “I expect to get a detailed report within 72 hours so that we can take further directions as recommended by the report,”she said.

Even as she was suspending the two, the Health CEC absolved them of claims of negligence. She explained that the department has “strict procedures”that should be strictly followed at all times in any emergency situation.“We have transferred patients to health facilities inNairobifrom our hospital,as well as from our rural health centres to ourreferral hospital and we have never witnessed such a case,” she said.

“I expect the appointed committee to look at all allegations and ensure that the report speaks the truth on what transpired on that day because we cannot allow ineptitude and negligence byour officers,” added Somoire.

KajiadoCentral Sub-County OCPDDaudiLoronyokweconfirmed the death of the two, stating that the mother was accompanying her sick child who had developed complications at the Ilbissilhealth centre.

“The incident happened on Fridayevening (January 24)around 8 pm whereby the mother of the sick child jumped out of the ambulance as it was rushing to Kajiado General hospitalbecause she saw the health of her child quickly deteriorating. She was pronounced dead on arrival at the general hospital,” said the OCPD.

He added that the matter wasstill under investigation. “Already, the driver and the nurse who were on board the ambulance on that Friday have recorded statements with us as well as the mother-in-law of the deceased,” saidLoronyokwe. “We are still conducting an inspection of the ambulance to assessif it was in good condition to operate on the road and after conclusion of the investigations, we will definitely take action against the responsible individuals.”

The health CEC has called for calm among family members and residents of Kajiado County as they address the matter.

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