- Senator Wakoli has asked all county hospital managers to always be alert on cases of referrals to avoid such deaths.
- However, Webuye County Hospital medical superintendent Simon Kisaka said that the patient was transferred within two hours after being referred.
The delayed referral of a sick woman from the Webuye County Hospital to the Bungoma County Referral Hospital has now been linked to detention at the subcounty facility over Sh18,000 medical bill.
Ruth Sakwa, 75, was finally taken to the Bungoma County Referral Hospital on Wednesday but it was too late as doctors pronounced her dead upon arrival.
Bungoma leaders are now fuming over the tragic turn of events claiming the woman was allegedly held at the Webuye hospital due to an unpaid bill of Sh18,000.
“The death of this woman was as a result of the delayed hospital referral where an ICU officer in charge at Bungoma County Referral Hospital was nowhere to be found for hours to confirm the availability of the ICU bed," Bungoma Senator Wafula Wakoli said.
However,Webuye County Hospital medical superintendent Simon Kisaka said that the patient was transferred within two hours after being referred.
He denied allegations of withholding her over an unpaid bill.
"She was referred at 6 pm and transferred at 8 pm. As a hospital, we haven't failed considering the patient was still under ongoing treatment and so due process had to be followed," Kisaka said.
Sakwa from Kimilili constituency was admitted to the Webuye hospital but her condition worsened thus necessitating a referral.
The referral was okayed at about 4 pm Wednesday but she got to the Bungoma town facility at 10 pm when she was pronounced dead.
It is alleged that the delay was occasioned by both Sakwa's inability to clear a bill of Sh18,000 that she had accumulated and also delayed confirmation on the availability of an ICU bed.
Senator Wakoli had pledged to pay up the bill, however, the offer was a little too late.
The senator has asked all county hospital managers to always be alert on cases of referrals to avoid such deaths.
Wakoli also decried the lack of drugs in the hospitals saying most facilities do not get enough funding from the county government.
He said many patients were still dying due to a lack of drugs and negligence in the facilities.
"It’s regrettable that we are losing our people because of lack of drugs and running water in our facilities and yet the county has enough money to buy the essential items,” he said.
Wakoli revealed that the recent report indicated that Bungoma is among the counties collecting good revenue yet health facilities are struggling to handle patients who are in critical conditions.
The Ford Kenya senator also wondered how the health facilities would lack water.
“I wonder how our health facilities lack water yet the county government has drilling rigs where water was to be drilled in every facility,” he said.
“What is the work of the rig if we still don’t have water in our facilities?"
The senator further said the county flagged off drugs recently but most of the health facilities are still lacking medicine.
"From now henceforth the committee on health should be auditing drugs being flagged by the county as it seems there is some foul play going on in the county,” he said.
The senator also asked the county government to start waiving bills to patients who were unable to pay.
"Most counties are waiving bills of patients who were unable to clear bills, why is Bungoma an exception?" he asked.
Wakoli vowed that he would not sit and watch as his electorate died due to a lack of drugs and alleged negligence from health personnel.
He said he has agreed with the Health and Sanitation Committee in the county assembly to summon all health stakeholders in the county to shed light on how the docket is run.
The Health Committee chairman George Makari echoed Senator Wakoli’s sentiments saying that going forward the county health committee is going to do a robust audit on the drugs supplied to the county.
Makari noted that despite the county receiving a drug consignment of about Sh68 million, Bungoma health facilities' drug shelves are still empty.
“We were informed that most of the drugs in the consignment were ARVs and fluids and as we all know ARVs are supposed to be free of charge so how did they end up in a consignment worth Sh68 million,” Makari asked.
“We can’t be flagging off empty lorries lying to residents that there are enough drugs in the county yet we are just playing PR."
The committee chairperson lamented that the nurses are now taking advantage of the situation and selling drugs from outside to patients who visit public health facilities.