Poor state of Kenyatta Hospital an indictment on government

By: VINCENT OCHIENG

Our health sector is still a pale shadow of what we expected in this 21st Century.

For a patient to be left in an ambulance for 18 hours outside Kenya’s largest health facility merely because of lack of a bed in an Intensive Care Unit room is truly heart wrenching.

Kenyatta National Hospital is one of the public hospitals in which all Kenyans, in their bid to get quality treatment, bank probably their last hopes in.

But if the same hospital can act so negligently and let an accident victim stay in an ambulance for 18 hours unattended at its emergency section, then heavy punitive measures need be taken against the hospital’s top management.

It has become a common practice in Kenyan hospitals nowadays for patients to go unattended for hours.

In fact, it is easy to walk into an hospital to find patients writhing in pain, some sprawled on the floor in the emergency section.

One can easily stay in this section of the hospital for more than eight hours, which then leaves you wondering whether the same section still deserves to be called the ‘emergency’ section.

DYING IN A QUEUE

This practice has become so common in our hospitals that perhaps our nurses and doctors think it is normal.

There is nothing normal in seeing a patient die in a queue ahead of you simply because they could get medical attention on time because the doctors were on a lunch break.

We are not saying doctors should not take a break, but sometimes we need to set our priorities right.

Furthermore, nowadays it is also very common to be turned away from our health facilities on the grounds that you lack the funds to foot some bill.

Since when did the desire for money override a person’s life?

That if you can’t pay a certain amount then you will not be attended to. Are we constructing hospitals to generate revenue or save lives?

This is why we need to stamp out this vice. Instead of going for the small fish first, drastic and punitive measures must be taken against the management of Kenyatta National Hospital.

We need to see heads rolling.