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Doctors perform brain surgery on a wrong patient in Kenya

Four Kenyan medical doctors have been suspended after cutting open the skull of the wrong patient at a hospital in Nairobi.

According to reports, one patient needed surgery for a blood clot on the brain, the other only non-invasive treatment for swelling but a horrifying mix-up of identification tags saw the wrong man operated on.

The doctors did not realise their mistake until “hours into the surgery, when they discovered there was no blood clot”, The head of the Kenyatta National Hospital said the patient was “in recovery and progressing well” and an investigation is under way.

The board regulating medical practice says such a mix-up is a first in the country. It has demanded a report from the hospital and plans to hold a hearing.  Social media users have expressed shock that such an incident could have been allowed to happen.

This comes only six weeks after the health minister ordered an investigation into claims new mothers were sexually assaulted at the same hospital.

Hospital CEO Lily Koros said the hospital “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”. 

She said four staff the neurosurgeon, ward nurse, theatre receiving nurse and anaesthetist had been suspended.  “The management has suspended the admission rights of a neurosurgery registrar and issued him with a show-cause letter for apparently operating on the wrong patient,” Ms Koros said.

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