Dr Okoth said the baby was vulnerable to that infection because pre-term infants’ vascular systems and immunities are not fully developed.
When Sarah Khasayi delivered twin daughters at Ruai Family Health Hospital, she did not expect that one of them would leave the facility without a leg.
Her tearful narration on NTV about the amputation of her daughter’s foot has caught the attention of the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board, which has launched an investigation into the matter and promised to deliver its verdict on July 21.
The KMPDB chief executive officer, Mr Daniel Yumbya, said a clinical officer is involved.
Ms Khasayi accused the health worker of leaving a needle used to administer intravenous antibiotics and food to her pre-term babies for too long, which miscalculation caused the foot of her daughter Terryanne to rot.
The management, led by resident clinician Paul Wainaina and Dr Maxwell Okoth, a director, cited “gas gangrene” for the amputation.
Gas gangrene is an infection caused by bacteria found almost everywhere – called Clostridium – which grow in the body, producing poisons that damage and kill tissues.
This happens quickly as the tissue turns blue, then black, and the part has to be cut off to save the patient’s life.
The distraught mother has dismissed the hospital’s explanation of an infection. She said: “My husband brought me here when I was in pain on June 1, 2017, on a Thursday, and I was operated on immediately … I was shown the babies and they were fine.”
At 9 pm, she joined her infants at the newborn unit, where they were in the incubator, having been born in the 34th week.
Fully developed babies are born in the 38th to 40th weeks.
The clinician says the intravenous injection – Branula or Canula in medical lingo – was then on baby Terryanne’s hand but it malfunctioned.
“So we injected her in the toe,” said Mr Wainaina.
Ms Khasayi concurs with Mr Wainaina up to this point.
But she says that after a week, the needles had not been removed yet no medication was being administered to the babies; she even removed the needle herself.
Referring to the clinician – who was seated next to her during the interview as she lay on the bed – as “Daktari” (Doctor), she asked him: “When I enquired, you and Sister (nurse) told me you would remove the needles when we would be leaving, didn’t you? I trusted you because you are a doctor and a sister … you know what you are doing.”
She said the nurse assured her “blood will just flow to the leg and it will be okay”.
Dr Okoth and Mr Wainaina say they informed Ms Khasayi about the situation early but she was “in denial”. “The amputation was mid-foot … the baby can still walk,” they said.
Paediatric cases such as Terryane’s, data from the board shows, form nine per cent of the complaints lodged against facilities; gynaecology issues lead at 24 per cent.
This year, the board has received 25 complaints led by Nairobi.
Additional reporting by Brenda Wanga