Written by Porcupines Wanjekeche
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Mr. Khamis Okumu at his home resting his leg on the table. He says that his mobility aid has become impaired since the injection administered on him by a nurse in 2011. [PHOTO|Porcupines Wanjekeche]
Health facilities are distinctively known for providing physical and psychological condition’s solution, but for Khamisi Okumu’s case; things were the other way round.
When 65 years old peasant farmer from Burebu village in Kakamega County set, innocently his foot to a local dispensary in a frantic quest for medical care, he never thought the journey will yield him permanent agony and frustration, he is living with today.
Khamisi is today walking on crutches with his paralyzed left limb after he was given a rascal injection for Malaria treatment on 13th of June 2011 at Eshitswitsi Health Centre in Butere Mumias district.
He says that his quest for relief from Malaria infection in that health facility turned to a paradox of unending agony instead of respite.
‘‘I was prescribed with five injections for Malaria after a diagnosis. And before I could belt-up my trouser after I was administered the injection by a nurse, my leg developed an instant paralysis’’ Said Khamisi.
‘‘An anomalous pain ran through my system immediately the nurse carried out the exercise. That first injection marked the end of the treatment for my maiden illness at that local dispensary, paving way for yet another unending search for treatment for my paralyzed and wounded leg’’, narrated the desperate Khamisi at his home where he still nurses the leg to date.
He says that he later on asked the nurse who delivered the injection the cause of the pain and was assured of immediate recovery.
‘You will be better. That is a normal condition when administering an injection. Sometimes it’s painful,” he quoted Mildred Lubanga’s words; a nurse who executed what he terms as a ‘spell injection’ to him.
Khamisi recalls how, he went on foot by himself to the facility, only to come back home carried on a motor bike with a supplementary problem.
He says that he tried to seek for assistance from the facility’s administration to help him address the case, but no one gave him attention compelling him to look for treatment from various hospitals.
“The only help I remember getting from the dispensary is the pull-off from the hospital’s bed after that fateful day’s injection,” he recalls.
“I was then dumped by a casual worker at the pavement past the facility’s gate. And that was the end of the business,” he narrates with acrimony.
“A Good Samaritan came my way and took me to my home,” he added.
He adds that his efforts to deviate the bills to the hospital failed to yield fruits leaving the whole burden of healthcare providers’ negligence to his poor family to struggle foot the bloated medical bills.
‘Even the very nurse that caused me the agony and suffering to this time could not come to my rescue,’ he laments.
“She continues to work safely under the import end nose of the government,” poses Khamisi with desperation, remembering the past days when he used to till his land with ease before he got himself into the current condition.
Khamisi is now counted among many Kenyans suffering from paramedics’ negligence while conducting their professional duties in various private and public facilities. Research however shows that most of them have gone away scot free as their patients go through the product of their gross inattention.
Khamisi, a father of ten, says with regret, that his peasant family that used to depend on him has been left in an economic limbo with his desperate condition.
He further says that his efforts to seek justice through Human Rights’ bodies have been meet with resistance from the hospital administration.
But as the country wakes up to make the ends meet for their families, Khamisi rises up every dawn after a whole night of throbbing pain to only suspend his leg on the table to allow blood’s circulation in his leg. He says that every little income generated by the family is channeled for his medication.
He says that the affected leg gives him sleepless nights characterized by itching and oozing of faulty smell purse.
His mobility aid, he says, is now in jeopardy procrastinating his mode of income in a family that solely depended on him to vent for bread.
The family of Khamisi says that it has spent the meager family’s fortune the now sick man made while still in good health and have now almost run bankrupt since he developed the ‘induced’ condition.
‘We have run up and down in various hospitals looking for a permanent redress to this condition in futility. We have up to now spent close to 0.2 million shillings in quest for treatment at various hospitals’ grumbled Mrs. Dorothy Khamisi, a mother of ten.
The director of Kenya Human Rights Watch Bungoma chapter, Peter Wekesa says that his efforts to arbitrate the matter with the administration have since been faced with hostility.
The director of the rights body says he wrote a letter on 13th June 2011 copied to the hospital, demanding for compensation of the patient for the physical damage caused by the nurse.
“My efforts have since hit a dead end. I was rebuked by the medical practitioner when I engaged him in discussion over the same matter.” said the director.
He says that he has now resolved to take a legal action against the said nurse to seek for justice for the old man.
The family of Khamisi is now calling on the government to make a speedy intervention to address the matter that they say has gone out of their hand.
Kenya Medical Association is said to be handling numerous cases of medical legal issues in different courts countrywide due to its members’ negligent practices.
Doctor Edward Vilembwa, an Assistant Director of Medical Services Webuye district Hospital, admits that cases of negligence in the profession are evident due to slipshod practices by medical staff.
He says that cases of injection abbesses can lead to an operation of the affected body part if detected early citing that most cases of nerve injections sometimes call for amputation of limbs.
“When a sciatic nerve is injured or pricked by a pointed object like an injection needle cases of paralysis occur,” he said.
Sciatic nerve is the main supply connecting the spinal code to the limbs which is connected to the brain.
“In issuing an injection in the gluten muscle (buttocks) medical practitioners must be very careful to avoid pricking the nerve which connects to the legs from the spinal code,” he observes.
He says that if the nerve is tempered with, supply of blood in the limbs becomes at risk of developing paralysis which can lead to amputation.
He adds that sometimes physiotherapy or oxygen therapy is alternative remedy for the case besides amputation. This is expensive to some patients and unaffordable to many.
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