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Burn victim, desperate for help, escapes from Karatina Hospital

Sunday February 23 2020

Karatina Level Four Hospital

A patient attended to at Karatina Level Four Hospital in 2016. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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Karatina Level 4 Hospital management has remained tight-lipped after a female patient, who had been admitted to the hospital with severe burns, sneaked out of the facility.

The patient, who had sustained severe burns, is said to have escaped in desperation after failing to get any medical attention for a whole week.


The woman was found half-naked and unconscious by her relatives some 15 kilometers from the hospital.

The woman’s relatives took her back to the hospital, but the hospital was reluctant to readmit her until police intervened.

Police are investigating the circumstances under which some hospital staff allegedly persuaded the patient to sign discharge documents soon after her readmission. The hospital had earlier reported that the patient was missing.


However, efforts to get the hospital’s director Caroline Gichuki were futile as several calls to her mobile phone went unanswered. She did not reply to text and WhatsApp messages. A visit to her office found that she had left earlier in the day.

Ms Lucy Ngonyo, a primary school teacher, was admitted to the facility on February 13, 2020 with severe burns after a pressure cooker exploded on her. 


Narrating her ordeal to the Nation from her hospital bed, Ms Ngonyo, who was accompanied by her mother Charity Nyaguthii Gathimba, said she decided to sneak out of the hospital after waiting for a week without getting any medical attention.

She claimed that the vehicle she had boarded abandoned her at Marua shopping centre on the Karatina-Nyeri highway.

“I was in great pain for the whole week; the wounds had started rotting but they [hospital staff] kept telling me not to take any food in preparation for an operation. I felt so depressed when it became apparent no operation was forthcoming, so I decided to sneak out,” Ms Ngonyo told the Nation.

Authorities have been reluctant to talk to the media.  


Ms Ngonyo claimed that after her readmission, some medics crafted a "discharge" document which they unsuccessfully tried to persuade her to sign.

Mathira East Sub-County Police Commander James Barasa confirmed that the hospital had reported a missing patient to Karatina Police Station.

Ms Ngonyo’s mother told the Nation that she was called by a security guard from the hospital on Thursday. The security guard informed her that her daughter had disappeared from the hospital.

She summoned her relatives before a search began. Ms Gathimba claimed her earlier pleas with the hospital to treat her daughter were met with hostility.  

However, the Nation has learnt that the patient was taken to the hospital's theatre after authorities learnt that the media had got wind of the incident.