Patients held at Ombo Mission Hospital in Migori County over unsettled bills are appealing to the Health Cabinet Secretary to intervene and relieve them from the harsh mistreatment they were undergoing at the hands of the hospital management.
They claim that they have to endure gruesome insults and mistreatment from a senior administrative staff member who allegedly abuses them daily for lacking money to settle their bills.
When a team of the press visited the hospital on Tuesday morning to investigate the truth about the patient’s claims, the hospital’s matron, Sister Augusta Nyaoko, who has been singled out to be the worst abuser denied the accusations leveled against the hospital staff.
Sister Nyaoko, who is also the chief nurse, admitted that the hospital had been holding several patients after they failed to clear their bills amounting to hundreds of thousands since last year but said no patient had been mishandled or beaten as claimed by some.
Ombo mission hospital is a Catholic-owned health facility and one of the best long serving hospitals in the area.
Narrating their ordeal at the facility, some of the victims of the alleged verbal slurs and physical abuse mainly from Siste r Nyaoko burst into tears, citing their harrowing experience at her cruel hands.
One of the patients, Dorothy Akinyi, said she was taken to the hospital by a well-wisher and could not clear her bills amounting to over Shs. 20, 000 leading to her being confined within the hospital’s precincts since August last year.
“I can no longer put up with the incessant assault but I have to stay. I have been beaten in the abdomen and sometimes told to just die”, she recounted amid sobs.
Another patient, Miriam Nyaboke, claimed she faced the same ordeal. “Sister Nyaoko usually comes to our ward and uses abusive terms on us and sometimes she physically assaults us”, she narrated.
Majority of victims had been discharged but since they were unable to foot their bills, they have been detained.
The victims claimed that the matron and some of her staff told them to just die so that they could be taken to the mortuary instead of accruing more debt yet the hospital needed money not desperate naggers.
One victim who had gone through an operation to remove a growth claimed that the nun sarcastically told her that she would return the removed growth into her tummy.
The patients said they had no one to report to as they were indebted to the hospital after they had undergone treatment at the hospital.
“Our hope is now only with the Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Health”, cried Emily Achieng.
The patients also called on well-wishers to help them clear their hospital bills to enable them escape the “cruel” treatment.
By Scophine Otieno/George Agimba