We did everything to save Ken Walibora, says KNH boss

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Kenyatta National Hospital Chief Executive Officer Evanson Kamuri. PHOTO/COURTESY

In Summary

  • Dr Kamuri dismissed reports that the hospital refused to attend to the writer, saying Prof Walibora was seen by three senior doctors with different specialities.
  • He said immediately the author was brought into the facility, he was categorized as a critical patient and immediately taken to a seven-bed capacity resuscitation room that is within the ICU room.

Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) Monday gave a blow-by-blow account of how celebrated writer Ken Walibora lost his life at the facility even as it denied negligence in attending to him.

Appearing before the Senate Health Committee, KNH chief executive Evanson Kamuri said doctors at the facility tried what was humanly possible to save the life of the Prof Walibora.

According to Dr Kamuri, Prof Walibora was brought to KNH in an ambulance on April 10 at exactly 9.53am and was marked as “unknown African man”.

He told the committee in the Zoom meeting that immediately the author was brought into the facility, he was categorized as a critical patient and immediately taken to a seven-bed capacity resuscitation room that is within the ICU room.

“The patient was bleeding and had serious multiple injuries to the face and was attended to at 10.10am,” Dr Kamuri said.

The CEO told the committee chaired by Senator Michael Mbito that at 4pm, the condition of Prof Walibora changed and he was incubated as he was by then unable to breathe by himself.

At 8pm, Dr Kamuri said, the condition of the celebrated Kiswahili writer further deteriorated due to what he said was intra-cerebral damage that affected his breathing system, but once again the doctors managed to resuscitate him.

At 12.10am, the CEO said his condition became worse and doctors frantically tried to save his life for one hour, but they lost him at 1.10am due to severe head injury.

Dr Kamuri dismissed reports that the hospital refused to attend to the writer, saying Prof Walibora was seen by three senior doctors with different specialities.

“At KNH when a patient is brought at the emergency area, we don’t care whether you have money or NHIF card or your social status. The first thing we do is to attend and stabilise you before we ask for payment because you can only pay when healthy,” Dr Kamuri said.

It is only after three days that relatives of Prof Walibora came to the hospital looking for him, but they could not identify him due to the damaged face hence his fingerprints were taken to confirm his identity.

Senators, however, questioned the management of the hospital on why it took so long for Prof Walibora to be taken to the ICU.

Dr Kamuri said the resuscitation is room is equally well equipped just like the ICU hence the deceased received all the care he would have received at the main ICU area.

He said the hospital has not come out to clarify the events that led to the death because the family had requested it not to engage with the media

“We respected the family request on patient confidentiality,” Dr Kamuri said.

Going forward, Dr Kamuri said there was need to attend to patients on time, pointing out that the first four minutes of attending to an injured patient are critical.

Prof Walibora was knocked down by a matatu on Landhies Road next to the entrance to Machakos bus station on April 10. To date, the driver of the Double M bus, Mr George Mburu, has not been arrested despite police saying they were going to charge him for causing death by dangerous driving.

Detectives said Mr Mburu claimed he never saw the former journalist running across the road, and that he may have hit the bus from the side.

Police say the driver of the bus was arrested and made to record a statement after the accident.

It is reported that on being hit, Prof Walibora lay bleeding on the road until a Good Samaritan drove him to hospital.

The former news anchor was buried at his Huruma village home, Cherangany Constituency in Trans-Nzoia County on Wednesday last week. The ceremony was attended by only 15 people in line with the government’s directives to contain the spread of coronavirus.