Hundreds of doctors in Kenya have gone on strike more than one week after medical staff were suspended due to operating on the brain of the wrong patient.
Last week, surgeons cut open the skull of a patient who was meant to have a non-invasive procedure, due to a mix-up in identification. Several hospital staff were suspended as a result. Now, 700 registrars have reportedly walked out on the job at Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi, claiming that one of their own was unfairly victimized and demanding for system-wide changes at the hospital, CBS News reports.
According to the doctors, the only person supposed to be punished for the mistake was the senior consultant surgeon who should have correctly supervised the operation. But the surgeon who performed the procedure, several junior members of the surgery team, the staffer who mixed up the identification tags, and two senior hospital administrators have all been suspended while an investigation is ongoing.
The registrars wrote,
While our friend may have exhibited some procedural short comings, the surgery was done on the wrong patient mainly because of wrong patient labeling by the ward staff.
Both the patients are in good condition, with the patient whose skull was cut open on the way to full recovery.
However, this has done little to stop the outrage of Kenyans, who have been vocal on social media in criticizing the country’s leading health care facilities. This incident came less than two months after Kenya’s health minister ordered a probe into allegations that mothers were sexually assaulted at the maternity ward of Kenyatta National, forcing the hospital to take a defensive stance.
The primary union for doctors and dentists in Kenya have defended the medical staff involved in the surgery mix-up, arguing that the hospital is “overwhelmed” by shortages on its resources, including under-staffing and lack of enough operating rooms.