Nurses dispute report that exonerates doctors in surgery mix-up

Wednesday March 18 2020

The National Nurses Association of Kenya Chairman Alfred Obengo (centre) in a past photo. He criticised a report absolving doctors of blame in the KNH surgery mix-up, saying it attempts to blame nurses. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP


The National Nurses Association of Kenya (NNAK) on Sunday disputed the preliminary report from the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board (KMPDB), which has blamed the nursing department for the KNH surgery mix up.

“While we equally question the legality of the preliminary enquiry, we state here categorically that it is technically impossible to pretend to come out with any iota of substantive findings within 24 hours on an issue of such magnitude,” said Alfred Obengo, the chairman of the association.


“As nurses, we view that preliminary enquiry process and report as skewed to favour the doctors and a futile attempt to cleanse themselves in the court of public opinion,” he said in a statement.

A committee constituted by KMPDB on Friday absolved two doctors from wrongdoing in the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) surgery mix-up.

The committee said that the competence of Dr Hudson Ng’ang’a Kamau, who undertook the surgery assisted by Dr Mose Moraa, could not be questioned.


It added that the two surgeons followed the proper procedure.

“However, it is not in dispute that the procedure was undertaken on the wrong patient,” said the committee.


The committee chaired by Dr Jackson Kioko, who is the director of medical services in the Health Ministry, indicated that Ms Mary Wahome, the nurse involved in the mix-up, should be further probed to determine if she is still fit to serve in the environment.

“The committee further finds the capability of nurse Mary Wahome to work in specific units of the hospitals needs to be considered by her regulator the Nursing Council of Kenya as she testified that she had been unwell for several months after she had been involved in an accident and had not fully recovered,” said Dr Kioko, who read the findings of the report.

According to the board, Ms Wahome complained of heavy workload at the hospital during the inquiry, saying that on the night of February 19 there were 61 patients and only three nurses attending to them.


“The regulator should find if the nurse is fit to practise under such an environment,” the committee recommended.

The joint committee included members of the Nursing Council of Kenya, Clinical Officers Council, among other authorities.

It said it had interviewed 11 witnesses over the confusion that led to surgery on the wrong patient on February 19.