A Nairobi court has ordered AIC Kijabe Hospital to pay Sh6 million to a widow whose husband died in botched brain surgery.
Justice Lucy Njuguna ruled that 37-year-old Michael Mwangi died as a result of medical negligence and ordered the hospital to compensate his family.
In her ruling, the judge noted that Mwangi would still be alive if the lead surgeon did not remove part of his brain instead of a tumor during the operation.
“The deceased was the sole breadwinner for the family and as a result of his death, the dependents have lost the support that they used to get from him. The court finds that the hospital breached the duty of care owed to the deceased and must compensate his family,” ruled justice Njuguna.
Mwangi’s widow Monica Wairimu sued the hospital alongside lead surgeon Leland Albright for the death of her husband. She sought general damages and compensation for the pain her husband was subjected to before his demise.
Mwangi was admitted to the hospital on December 16th, 2012, and the operation was done on December 27th. Soon after the surgery, he was taken to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) where he stayed until January 16th, 2013, when he was transferred to the general ward but died a few days later.
The family hired an independent pathologist who established that doctors removed part of Mwangi’s brain instead of the tumor, hence leading to his death. The report was filed in court.
“If a doctor does not act with reasonable care and skill in dealing with a patient, that would be negligence. A person holding himself as possessing a special skill and knowledge when consulted owes a duty to the patient to use due caution in undertaking the treatment,” justice Njuguna ruled.
The judge noted that Mwangi had 18 more years in employment and multiplied his monthly salary with the number of years to retirement, which added up to Sh5,040,000.
She also awarded the family a further Sh650,000 and Sh140,000 in damages plus interest.
“For the pain and suffering the deceased went through and on the loss of expectation of life, I find that the deceased was in the hospital for 27 days while suffering at the hands of the doctors and is entitled to damages of Sh650,000,” the judge added.