Doctor defends licence in death of mother and twins

The Nairobi High Court.
The Nairobi High Court.

A doctor is defending her licence after she was accused of causing the death of a 34-year-old woman and her twins.

Dr Mary Omamo, a gynecologist and consultant obstetrician at Kenya Methodist University Reproductive Health department, received a letter from the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentist Board on April 25.

She was notified of her suspension from private medical practice for six months.

The letter also directed Omamo to undergo re-training at the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital under the supervision of Dr Paul Nyongesa.

The case arises from the admission, treatment, care and management of the patient who died along with her twins. Records show Margaret Katilu was pregnant with twins. She had a McDonald Stitch at 19 weeks. It is minor surgery in which the cervix is stitched closed to prevent a miscarriage or premature birth.

On January 14 last year, the woman started vomiting and felt reduced foetal movement.

Omamo went to Nairobi West Hospital to see Katilu, who was 36 weeks pregnant. A scan revealed Katilu had twins, one of which had died, and was affecting the second foetus. Hence, the decision to deliver her urgently by surgery.

She was not in labour and vaginal delivery would require induction, which is contraindicated in twins. The dead baby’s fluids had affected the second twin, who also died at delivery, but the patient was in stable condition.

Omamo in her affidavit says after the surgery she wrote her treatment notes so the nurses could continue treatment, and left. At about 10pm, she was called by a Dr Samba who was agitated. This led to a verbal exchange in relation to the dead twins, not the condition of the patient.

She says she was later informed that Katilu and her husband had terminated her services and took up Dr Joseph Ochieng.

“The following morning, I was told the patient, who was stable, had collapsed and stopped breathing. I wrote my post-surgery notes and a post mortem was done,” Omamo says.

It confirmed there was no haemorrhage during surgery and cause of death could have been severe effects caused by a drug administered by Ochieng,” she says.

Through lawyer Tom K’Opere, Omamo now seeks to quash the decision of the board to suspend her.

She says she will suffer irreparable loss in her profession since she has patients to whom she must attend while proceedings are pending.

“At no time was I ever summoned to the board or called to any hearing before the ruling was delivered. I was never informed of any wrongdoing or given an opportunity to defend myself against malpractice or any unethical conduct,” Omamo says.

She says she did not have any opportunity to manage the patient post-operatively, as she was switched to a different doctor the same night of the operation.

“After the telephone exchange, a decision was taken by the patient’s family on the advice of Samba that the patient be changed to the care of a different doctor,” she says.

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