Kenyan hospital staff suspended after brain surgery on wrong patient

Two hospital officials have been placed on leave after a mix-up led to doctors performing brain surgery on the wrong patient. Photo by Daniel Irungu/ EPA-EFE

March 2 (UPI) — Two hospital officials in Kenya have been placed on leave for an incident in which a physician performed brain surgery on the wrong patient.

Staff noticed the blunder hours into the craniotomy surgery, when doctors could not locate a hematoma, which is a blood clot and was reason for the surgery.

The mistake last weekend apparently was caused by a mix-up of the patients’ identification tags.

The neurosurgeon, two nurses and an anesthesiologist have been suspended. The patient who underwent surgery is recovering, officials said.

Lily Koros, the hospital’s CEO said the medical center “deeply regrets this event and has done all it can to ensure the safety and well-being of the patient in question. We are happy to inform the public that the patient is in recovery and progressing well.”

Koros has been placed on leave during an investigation, along with the hospital’s director of clinical services.

According to doctors who recounted events leading up to the surgery, the patient was confused and not able to communicate properly.

During the craniotomy procedure, which temporarily removes a bone flap from the skull so doctors can access the brain, surgeons could not find the blood clot.

Three calls were made to confirm the identity of the patient during the surgery, all of which indicated surgeons had the correct person. After the consultant on call was informed, doctors decided to close the patient and perform tests to re-evaluate.

Colleagues at the Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi are upset a neurosurgeon and three medical staff members were suspended. They say the nurses who prepared the patient for surgery are the ones at fault because they wrongly labeled the two patients.

“We believe that while our friend may have exhibited some procedural shortcomings, the surgery was done on the wrong patient mainly because of wrong patient labeling by the ward staff,” a group of doctors said in a statement. “Slapping a suspension on our colleague is totally erroneous, victimizing in nature and unwarranted.”


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