Wrong Patient Gets Brain Surgery Due to Hospital Mix-Up

CEO of Kenyatta National Hospital suspended
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 2, 2018 5:31 PM CST
University students leave after treatment at Kenyatta National Hospital, Sunday, April 12, 2015, in Nairobi, Kenya.   (AP Photo/Sayyid Azim)

(Newser) – Doctors at a hospital in Kenya were two hours into brain surgery to remove a patient's blood clot when they discovered to their shock there was no clot, the Daily Nation reports. They had the wrong patient. According to the BBC, the patient they were operating on simply needed non-invasive treatment for swelling. Both patients were brought into the Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi unconscious last Sunday. Reports blame the patients' identification tags being switched around for the mix-up. Hospital CEO Lily Koros says the hospital "deeply regrets this event and has done all it can to ensure the safety and well-being of the patient in question."

Koros announced the suspension of a neurosurgeon, ward nurse, theater receiving nurse, and anaesthetist in response to the mix-up. But the doctors' union says blaming "overwhelmed" staff isn't the right response, Reuters reports. “Doctors are overwhelmed," union head Ouma Oluga says. "You find one doctor could be doing 10 to 19 operations [in a day]." The Kenyan health minister later announced Koros had also been suspended. There was public outrage over the incident at the hospital, which was already under scrutiny after new mothers claimed they were sexually assaulted there. Regulators are planning a hearing. The patient who underwent brain surgery is recovering. In a twist, the patient who actually has a blood clot may not get surgery after all because their condition has improved. (Read more brain surgery stories.)

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