Andrew Musungu, the guardian of late Alfred Nyongesa who was a Student at Tudor Secondary School . Nyongesa who was among the School’s Student in a school drowned in Malindi and later succumbed to death at a hospital in Mombasa.[Maarufu Mohamed,Standard]
A stand-off has ensued following the death of a student who slipped into a coma after nearly drowning in the Indian Ocean during a school trip early this year.
The 19-year-old Form Four student at Tudor Secondary, Alfred Nyongesa, was on a class field trip to Malindi, Kilifi County, on February 27. He was then admitted to Aga Khan Hospital in Mombasa where he died on Thursday last week.
Nyongesa’s death has re-ignited debate on the safety of students on field trips and questions on who between the school and parents should bear the cost of such eventualities.
The guardian accuses the school administration of negligence and abandoning the student by failing to clear medical bills, arguing that the boy was injured during a school trip.
“I paid Sh650 for the trip because I thought it would benefit my nephew but he came back in a coma and now he is dead. It is very painful,” said Nyongesa’s guardian, Andrew Musungu.
Nyongesa was an orphan. His father and mother died in 2005 and 2007, respectively, and has been under the care of Mr Musungu. “This accident occurred while the boy was in the school’s care but whenever I went to ask them for help, they say the school does not have a kitty for such eventualities,” Musungu said.
Tudor Secondary School Principal Peter Watoro said public schools did not have insurance covers and the school was forced to organise a fund-raiser to raise money for the student’s medical bills.
“The guardian believed the school should pay all medical bills. On March 10 we organised a harambee and raised Sh668, 000 which we then gave to Aga Khan,” Watoro said.
Musungu and the family accuse the school of failing to pay the Sh2.2 million bill at Aga Khan after the parties agreed to move the boy to Coast Provincial General Hospital (CPGH).
“It was a decision made by the guardian that the boy should be moved to a less costly facility. But the delay was because we were supposed to clear Sh2.2 million at Aga Khan before we being allowed to move him,” Watoro said.
He said the decision to move the boy from the Intensive Care Unit at Aga Khan to the general ward was reached after “consultation with concerned parties because the bill was getting out of hand”.
Aga Khan Hospital administrator Hemed Twahir however denied reports that the boy was moved from ICU to general wards because of the medical bill.
“Whereas I cannot discuss the details, the decision to step down a patient from ICU to a ward is purely a clinical decision, depending on his improvement,” said Dr Twahir, who confirmed that the boy was admitted at the facility.
He admitted that whenever a caretaker or guardian of the patient requests that a patient be transferred to a facility they can afford and they have an outstanding bill, they are “encouraged to pay or asked to deposit a promissory note”.
But even as the blame game continues, the student’s body is still lying at the Aga Khan Hospital mortuary as the guardian struggles to raise Sh1.9 million in accrued medical bill.