KNH nurse in critical condition after attack by patient's kin

Wednesday March 18 2020
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A nurse at Kenyatta National Hospital was attacked by a patient's father on October 13, 2018. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By VERAH OKEYO

A nurse at the Kenyatta National Hospital is fighting for her life after being attacked by a relative of a patient on Saturday.

Ms Mildred Akinyi, who convulsed during the attack, is at the hospital's high dependency unit.

Nursing Council of Kenya chief executive Edna Tallam and Kenya National Nurses Association Nairobi branch chairperson Stella Githaiga condemned the attack.

“Our health professionals give their best and they must be respected and protected," Ms Tallam tweeted.

DEAD CHILD
It is not clear what triggered the KNH attack. Ms Githaiga said the nurse was hit in the head with a blunt object.

The attacker, who has been arrested, reacted violently following the death of his son who had leukaemia.

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Nurses who responded to Ms Akinyi's screams said they found her on the ground convulsing. She was taken to the accident and emergency unit before being transferred to the HDU.

“People come to hospital informed of their rights and what to expect, but they do not know we may not meet their expectations because of the conditions of our work,” Ms Githaiga said.

Nurses recounted situations where they have been slapped, shoved aside, verbally abused and even punched.

HAZARD
The medics say they report the cases to the Ministry of Health and the hospital administration but action is never taken.

KNH director of clinical services Peter Masinde said the hospital is treating the assault as a criminal case.

He added that the hospital cannot commit to ending attacks on nurses "since that is an occupational hazard".

“Nurses meet very many people in the course of their work. Some are unstable, upset and even stressed,” Dr Masinde told the Nation.

Kenya suffers from a chronic shortage of nurses, who are considered as the backbone of the health industry.

According to the latest Health workforce report, the country has only eight practising nurses per 10,000 people.

The figure is almost a third recommended by the World Health Organisation.