Probe on after patient 'stuck in Nairobi Hospital lift for one hour'

Sunday January 19 2020

The entrance to The Nairobi hospital as pictured on October 30, 2019. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP


The Health ministry on Sunday ordered an investigation into The Nairobi Hospital after a patient was allegedly stuck in a lift for an hour and 15 minutes.

It was not immediately clear what the cause of the prolonged elevator jam was.

In a statement, outgoing Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki said the patient was being transferred on Sunday from the Intensive Care Unit to the High Dependency Unit.

"The hospital administration failed to find an immediate solution to the grave situation," Ms Kariuki said.


The minister said she had been informed that this was not the first such case at the hospital.


She said she had, therefore, ordered the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Council to immediately investigate the matter and submit a report in two days.

"The hospital management is hereby directed to ensure patients at the facility are not exposed to similar situations in future," Ms Kariuki said.


A hospital staff member, who requested anonymity, said the patient was being "downgraded" from the ICU to the HDU before being taken to the ward.

"It's just that the lift failed and, it being a Sunday, there was a delay in response by the maintenance team."

Another staff member privy to the matter claimed other people were in the lift and that they were stuck for 20 minutes.

The source further said the elevator was not overloaded.

Another source told the Nation that the patient, a 40-year-old man whose name could not be revealed by the time of going to press, was stable.

The source said the council would examine the impact of the man's long stay in the lift to establish if it affected his wellbeing.


Reached for comment on Sunday, the council's Chief Executive Officer, Mr Daniel Yumbya, said he was at the hospital for a meeting on the matter.

Mr Yumbya told the Nation by phone that the meeting was of the hospital's management and the patient's family.

He added: "Some of the things we'll look at are whether his vital signs, before and after the incident, were affected in any way."

The CEO, who said he was with council chair Dr Eva Njenga, would not give details.


Doctors took to social media with comments on the matter, some discussing the council's authority.

Dr Ouma Oluga, Secretary-General and Chief Executive Officer of the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union, noted that the council has not been constituted since 2019.

"There is no one to accuse since the Health CS has never gazetted names to fill up vacancies as per Cap 253," he said.

"To help patients and doctors, the council must be constituted as soon as possible."

Such cases have in the past been investigated by the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board. The board was to be officially phased out to pave way for the council.