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'Horror' as doctor cuts open wrong patient's head

03 March 2018

An unnamed man who was due to receive only nursing and medication for head swelling was wheeled into the operating theatre on February 19 and underwent a brain surgery meant for someone else.

Hours into the operation last month, the medical team could not find the expected blood clot and consulted a senior neurosurgeon, who advised them to stop, according to the Daily Nation.

The hospital's management also interdicted three other medical staff among them the ward nurse, the theatre receiving nurse and the anaesthetist for their role in the mishap.

Hospital officials said in Thursday's statement that the medical center "deeply regrets this event and has done all it can to ensure the safety and well being of the patient in question".

The management said the patient was "in recovery and progressing well" and an investigation is underway. Both patients are recuperating well, in what has been described as a "miracle of some sort".

The hospital is under investigation for the incident, and a hearing is imminent.

The tags are the patient's only method of identification. A mix up with ID tags led to the wrong patient being operated on.

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"Besides, the file details and patient label tallied".

They say the nurses who prepared the patient for surgery are the ones at fault because they wrongly labeled the two patients.

After consulting a senior neurosurgeon, the operating doctor reportedly was instructed to proceed no further, clean up the area and close the head.

Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki who apologized to the family of the affected patient and Kenyans directed the hospital's board to immediately undertake a probe on the referral hospital's mess.

Surgeons only realised their mistake when they tried to search for the clot in the brain of the second man whose head they had opened and couldn't see anything.

Wrong-site surgery may involve operating on the wrong side, as in the case of a patient who had the right side of her vulva removed when the cancerous lesion was on the left, or the incorrect body site.

'Horror' as doctor cuts open wrong patient's head