On Friday 6th May 2011, a patient passed away while in transit from Kiambu District hospital to Kenyatta National Hospital to receive dialysis. He worked in Busia DH and had gone to Kiambu to visit his parents. During this break he developed severe malaria and two days later he had developed acute renal failure for which reason he was referred to KNH for dialysis – this he never got. This patient was Dr. Henry Gatune Medical Officer Busia DH who finished internship last year and he died because Kiambu DH does not have dialysis facilities. No, let’s put that more accurately,
He died because the only places in a country of 40million people and 47 counties that the government has bothered to put dialysis equipment are KNH, MTRH, Coast General and Nakuru DH.
Acute renal failure is often easily reversible, you dialyse a patient for two weeks and they are back to perfect health – this young doctor who has literally saved lives couldn’t get this. Really!? It also begs the question, if this is what happens to the doctor, what happens to the ordinary citizen? This also highlights the points we have been talking about albeit to a deaf uncaring government – 1. that public sector healthcare provision is a horrific tragedy and 2. that doctors can’t even afford the healthcare they provide – not even when their lives depend on it (and the public so much less so). For instance, if he could afford treatment at the Karen Hospital he would have began dialysis in an hour latest. Better yet, perhaps we should have flown him to Amercia on day one! Instead, his government pays him only just enough to seek treatment in Kiambu district hospital and KNH – both of which it has severely underfunded, underequipped and understaffed with poorly paid staff.
We have to do whatever it takes, pay whatever it costs to ensure that because of Dr. Henry Gatune, this kind of thing will never happen again in our country. Not while we live.
By Dr. Ng’ani ( Read this story and more at http://www.kmpdu.org/ )
“His death certificate read that he was a victim of acute renal failure, but the true cause of death was a healthcare system that has failed to demonstrate regard for millions of Kenyans who have no other recourse for a fundamental, critical service.” – The EastAfrican
“Among Kenyans failed by the system are the very health workers we expect to dedicate their lives to selflessly battling disease, but whom we fail to give the resources to deliver that care, even to themselves, and even at the very point from which there’s no rescue or return” – The EastAfrican