A neurosurgeon in Kenya, and three other medical professionals were suspended after performing brain surgery on the wrong person. The horrifying blunder occurred at the Kenyatta National Hospital late last month, and is being blamed on patients wearing the wrong identification tags.
One of the two patients needed surgery to remove a blood clot in his brain, while the other needed medication for head trauma. Both men were wheeled into the hospital unconscious, according to Kenya’s Daily Nation.
Over two hours into the surgery, doctors noticed that there was no blood clot and subsequently realized that the operation was being performed on the wrong person. The patients' charts had apparently been misidentified along with their hospital tags.
In a statement Thursday (March 1), KNH said that it “deeply regrets” the blunder and “has done all it can to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the patient in question.”
"We are happy to inform the public that the patient is in recovery and progressing well," KNH CEO Lily Koros said. Her statement came not long before she was placed on leave, pending an investigation into the mix-up.
Two nurses and an anesthetist were also suspended from the hospital. The operating surgeon was issued a show-cause letter to explain his actions. He, and some of his colleagues, disagreed with the suspension, arguing that the reprimand should fall on the nurses for putting the wrong identification tags on the patients.
The hospital was also issued a weeklong show-cause letter to explain the error. "The seven-day show-cause period comes to an end on March 2, 2018, after which the Clinical Services Director will immediately convene the Medical Advisory Committee to deal with the issue,” Koros said.
The surgery gaffe is the latest scandal trailing the largest public hospital in Kenya. In February, a women allegedly kidnapped a newborn twin boy from the hospital. In January, demonstrators marched to demand a criminal inquiry into allegations of male staffers sexually assaulting “several women.” The rape allegations went viral after a Facebook post claimed that a new mother was “nearly raped” when she went to breastfeed her baby inside the hospital nursery.
Some members of the staff also held a counter protest against the sexual abuse claims.
The hospital opened an investigation into the allegations, but noted that no women had stepped forward with complaints.