It was very difficult to save Baby Travis

In Summary

• On October 11, a young boy died in KNH as surgeons tried to extract a jembe from his head

• The Senate is now investigating to determine whether there was negligence on the part of KNH and Thika Hospital

X-ray image of the fork jembe lodged in the boy's head.
TRAGEDY: X-ray image of the fork jembe lodged in the boy's head.

In a tragic accident, a young boy called Travis Maina was struck by a fork jembe in Kiambu and died during surgery on October 11 in Kenyatta National Hospital after being transferred there from Thika Level 5 Hospital.

The case is now being investigated by senators to determine if there was negligence.

The Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists’ Union has also insisted that any level 5 hospital should have a neurosurgeon and an anaesthesiologist to treat cases like Travis in an Intensive Care Unit. 

Certainly there are cases of negligence in the public health system and regional hospitals deserve to be upgraded. There can be no argument with that.

But, without wishing to minimise the tragedy suffered by the family of Travis, his injury was probably fatal from the beginning. Firstly, such an invasive brain injury causes colossal damage and internal bleeding.

Secondly, jembes are used for digging. Almost certainly Travis had farm soil brought into his brain. That was bound to lead to infection inside the brain, something that any doctor anywhere would struggle to treat.

It is doubtful that any hospital in the world could have saved Baby Travis.

Quote of the day: "The true facts are not always obvious. They often have to be looked for."

Oliver Tambo
The South African politician was born on October 27, 1917

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