Family protests deaths of mum, newborn

Postmortem reveals mum died from excessive bleeding, baby pulled out forcefully.

In Summary

• Hospital says mother was referred to Mama Lucy Hospital while alive, says she died there. 

• Mama Lucy denies claims. Family spokesperson found baby's remains in a box ready to be taken to Mama Lucy 'before wewere informed'. 

Cana Family and Maternity Hospital at Sinai slum in Nairobi.
LONG LABOUR: Cana Family and Maternity Hospital at Sinai slum in Nairobi.

A family in Sinai slum is protesting against the death of their relative and her newborn at a private hospital in the slum, citing negligence.

Susan Njeri, 23, died at Cana Family and Maternity Hospital on September 23, two days after her admission.

Led by the family spokesman Simon Makombe, the family demanded answers from the facility’s management on the deaths.

They said Njeri was admitted on September 21 at about 5pm without any ailment, 'neither did she have complications'. She was taken to the facility to deliver, they said, not for treatment.

“I went to Cana Hospital late on September 23 and found the newborn’s remains put inside a carton ready to be taken to Mama Lucy Hospital by the management. I protested and told them that it was not right,” Makombe said. 

He said he questioned why the remains were being taken to Mama Lucy Hospital’s mortuary without notifying the police, yet it was a police case.

Makombe was pushing for the matter to be reported to the police when he realised that Njeri had also died under unclear circumstances and her body was lying at Mama Lucy Hospital.

The family accused the private hospital of responsibility for both deaths.

They reported the matter to the Industrial Area police station. 

However, Cana Hospital management stating that they referred Njeri to Mama Lucy Hospital while she was alive. They said she died at the public facility.

“It is not true that we murdered the woman and her newborn as claimed by the family. The closest public referral hospital around is Mama Lucy. We called Mama Lucy after we realised we couldn’t handle the situation, packed all Njeri’s belonging and rushed her to the hospital. She, however, died on arrival at the facility,” hospital administrator Simon Muiruri said.

He said Njeri died from excessive bleeding.

“We do not know what caused the bleeding, we did not know the situation was complicated,” Muiruri said.

He added, “When a mother labours for long, she should be referred to a referral facility. Our facility cannot manage such complications, we had started the referral process but unfortunately, the mother delivered. She was fully dilated.”

The administrator termed the incident as unfortunate, saying Cana does not have a theatre where such situations can be handled through surgery. 

As for the baby, Muiruri said the child died due to complications arising from delayed labour. He said the hospital is sorry and apologises for both the mother and child's deaths. 

"This is an isolated case. We have never experienced such for the last 20 years we have been in operation as a hospital, " the administrator said.

Mama Lucy Hospital’s management denied Muiruri’s narrative that the mother died at their facility. 

They said she was brought there dead.

Both the bodies were removed to Mama Lucy Hospital mortuary where a postmortem was performed on the mother. It revealed that she died from excessive bleeding.

According to the postmortem, excessive force was used to pull the baby from the womb, thereby interfering with the umbilical code, resulting in bleeding. The child had bruises. 

The bodies were buried at the Lang'ata Cemetery in Nairobi.

The family has threatened to stage demonstrations stating that it's the only way to push for justice.

Edited by R.Wamochie