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Long wait for ambulance costs man wife and child

A six-hour wait for an ambulance to ferry a patient from Ukwala to Siaya County referral hospital saw a man lose his wife and child in Siaya County.

And the widower, Fredrick Ouma Omondi and his family are crying foul and blaming the medics at the Ukwala sub county referral hospital for negligence and laxity that led to the death of his wife, Syprose Akinyi Ouma.

Speaking to the media at his home in Ng’ongo village, Simur sub location in Ugenya Sub County, the tearful 31-year-old Omondi narrated how his wife spent close to 12 hours waiting for an ambulance to ferry her to Siaya where she was to be assisted to deliver after developing complications.

“I took my wife to Ukwala sub county referral hospital at around 11.30pm on 8/9/2020 where she was admitted and the nurse told us to come back the following day,” said Omondi adding that the following morning, he went to the hospital by 6am to check on her condition.

He said that a security guard could not allow him inside but told him to wait as he went to consult.

“The watchman came back to inform me that the nurses had told him that it was I they were waiting for so that they could refer the patient to Siaya as she had developed complications,” he said.

The tearful Omondi said that after consultations with the medics, he was assured that the ambulance would be available in 30 minutes.

He said that the 30 minutes turned into hours and it was not until shortly before 12 noon that the ambulance showed up and immediately, the nurses rushed to talk to the driver who left almost immediately.

“I became alarmed and demanded to know what was happening as they could also not allow me see my wife or appraise me of her condition,” he said adding that immediately after his protest, some nurses passed by saying how either the mother or child could have been saved had the ambulance arrived early.

Omondi said it took another 30 minutes for a watchman to summon him to a room where the medics broke the sad news of the death of the mother and child.

“What baffled me more was the condition of my wife as there was a deep cut that exposed the baby,” he said.

His father, Peter Omondi Obimbo described the condition of her daughter in-law’s body as disgusting.

“Ni kama hao madaktari walikuwa wakichinja kondoo ama chui.. matako ya mtoto na miguu zilikuwa nje huku kichwa kikiwa ndani ya tumbo,” (It is as if they were slaughtering a sheep or a leopard, the child’s buttocks and legs were out while the head inside the stomach) said Obimbo.

The family called on the government to take up the matter and bring to book anybody who could have contributed to the death of the 26-year-old mother and her unborn child.

“Why did it take the ambulance all those hours and yet we know there is always one stationed at Ukwala? Why couldn’t the hospital authorities seek help from the police to use their land cruiser to ferry the patient to Siaya which is not far away? Why couldn’t they call me immediately they realized that there were complications yet they had my telephone contacts and had the medical records of my late wife who had attended all her clinics there?” Posed the tearful widower.

Siaya County director of medical services, Dr. Michael Oduor confirmed the death of the mother and child saying that plans were underway to conduct a maternal death review in line with the ministry of health guidelines.

Dr. Oduor said all those involved in handling the deceased would appear before an audit board next week to explain what happened.

“It is unfortunate that we lost the mother and baby and we pass our condolences to the family,” he said over the phone adding: “We ask for a little patience as we look into the matter as a department.”

By Philip Onyango

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