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22-year-old pregnant woman dies after lengthy wait at County Referral hospital

Pregnant woman has died after a lengthy wait at a Homa Bay County Referral Hospital on Friday morning.

In a story by Standard newspaper, Letizia Achieng, a 22-year-old died at Homa Bay County Referral Hospital on Friday morning.

Her family is accusing Mbita Sub-County Hospital of taking a long time to transfer her to a different hospital.

They arrived at Mbita Sub-County Hospital at about 1am on Friday but her condition worsened three hours later.

The medics realized they did not have the medicine she needed and opted to transfer her to Homa Bay County Referral Hospital. 

However, there was no ambulance to ferry Ms Achieng to the referral hospital located 40km away.

The medics then called for an ambulance from Sindo Sub-County Hospital.

Mr Ogango stated that because the ambulance was late, he enlisted the help of a friend to transport Ms Achieng to the referral hospital.

The friend’s car arrived in less than 10 minutes, but Mbita hospital medics stated a private vehicle was unfit for transporting the patient.

They demanded that Mr Ogango wait for the ambulance, which arrived just before 6 a.m.

The ambulance driver said the truck was out of gas and wanted Sh5,000 in advance from the patient’s caregivers.

“Our hope was renewed when we saw the ambulance arriving at the hospital. But the driver insisted he would not leave until we paid the Sh5,000,” Mr Ogango said.

With few options left, Mr Ogango went back to his friend’s car that the medics had previously said was unsuitable.

“We argued with the ambulance driver for 30 minutes over the fuel issue. I believe Linda Mama insurance covers even the cost of an ambulance. I eventually decided to use my friend’s vehicle because the patient’s condition continued to worsen,” he said.

Ms Achieng died 45 minutes after arriving at Homa Bay County Referral, where she was undergoing treatment. Ms Achieng died of excessive blood pressure, according to Peter Ogola, the chief executive of Homa Bay County Referral Hospital.

“The patient was brought to our hospital when she was already overwhelmed. Her foetus was already dead,” Dr Ogola said.

The body was moved to Sindo Sub-county Hospital morgue. Mr Ogango blamed Mbita Sub-County Hospital for the death.

“If the medics knew that the ambulance could not carry the patient, why didn’t they give us an alternative? I later realised the medicine they said they did not have that necessitated the transfer only costs Sh240. It’s sad!” 

Homa Bay County Health executive Mr Richard Muga said a preliminary report shows the family refused to board the ambulance.

However, Mr Muga said a committee will be formed to probe the matter.

“We will investigate the cause of the delay which led to death of the pregnant woman. The death is unfortunate,” Prof Muga said.

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