Baby Ethan Muendo, whose death led to the closure of Shalom Community Hospital in Machakos County on Monday, died due to respiratory depression, a preliminary autopsy investigation conducted at Montezuma Funeral Home has revealed.
Pathologist Daniel Zuriel said the baby's brain was swollen, leading to the respiratory depression since breathing is controlled by the brain.
"The cause of death in this matter is respiratory depression and this is because breathing is controlled from the brain,” said Dr Zuriel.
He added that the brain has been preserved for further examination to establish whether the swelling had been caused by the alleged intoxication by drugs.
He said the second investigation will involve toxicology tests and samples including urine, liver and blood will be taken to the Government Chemist for analysis.
"We want to establish whether the brain was swollen because of the alleged morphine. We cannot speculate,” said Dr Zuriel.
He was speaking during a tense press briefing Tuesday where the baby’s father, Mr Jonathan Muendo, broke down in tears demanding to know how long it will take to conclude investigations and if the burial of the body should await the conclusion of the post-mortem examination.
It emerged that the family may have to bury the body without the brain as the investigations could take up to six months.
The pathologists said other organs such as lungs and heart were found to be okay.
There was also evidence of a burn and evidence of medical intervention since the burn was covered with a bandage.
The pathologists will examine the brain after two weeks since it requires to be stabilised first.
"The brain is jelly-like and it falls off so you cannot examine it in that state. You fix the brain so that you examine it when it is firm,” explained Dr Zuriel.
Shalom Hospital Director George Onyango and other five employees have since been arrested and are awaiting arraignment.