A heavily pregnant Ms Victoria Zubeida walked into Mikindani Medical Centre in Jomvu on Sunday evening after experiencing excruciating labour pangs. At 11pm, she successfully delivered a baby boy. However, doctors admitted the infant, saying he had developed complications.
On Tuesday, around 4pm, Ms Zubeida, 25, met another expectant woman at the maternity wing.
“She asked me about services at the hospital and we talked for long. My husband came and urged the doctors to discharge us after our baby’s health improved, but they said his condition was still unstable,” she said.
But at 7pm, Ms Zubeida says she was asked to leave the hospital.
“I left without signing anything, and the woman offered to help me. A nurse told me she would give me some drugs for the baby, but I left in a hurry. On reaching the bus stop, the woman reminded me about the drugs so I rushed back, leaving her with my baby,” she narrated.
Unaware of what was lying ahead, she ran back to the hospital and collected the drugs from the nurse but, upon returning to the bus stop, she could not find the woman and the baby. She broke down and wailed. After a few minutes, a Good Samaritan took her back to the hospital to enquire what had transpired.
But the hospital refused to hear her out, according to Mikindani residents led by Joyce Adhiambo and Wafula Wamangey. They said they begged the hospital’s watchman to allow the distraught woman to take a rest at the facility after crying her lungs out.
“But they refused. Her husband came around 8pm. He was so angry and wanted to beat her up, claiming the child had been sold. We had to intervene and calm him down,” said Mr Wamangey. He suspected foul play and the hospital should be held liable, he said.
“How did that stranger access the maternity ward? We have questions that the hospital’s management must answer. How could they lock out their patient to cry outside the hospital alone at midnight?” he asked.
“They left this woman outside the facility crying. The management came and never uttered a word. We begged them to allow her to sleep in the premises, but they refused,” he added.
Zubeida’s husband, David Muya, was lost for words. ”On Monday morning, I came to check on my son and wife and was told he was still unwell. On Tuesday around noon, I sent my neighbours to assist my wife after she gets discharged but doctors insisted the baby was still unwell.”
Mr Muya went to the hospital only to find his wife wailing outside the facility at night.
“I told the doctors not to discharge my wife when she’s alone; either she should be accompanied by me or my neighbours. Why did they discharge her at night? Who signed the discharge forms? Why did they change the birth date of my child from Sunday to Tuesday?” He asked as tears rolled down his eyes.
Mr Muya said his wife was asked to change his son’s birth dates because crucial details had not been registered in the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF).
“They told me if I wanted NHIF to pay for my maternity, I had to change the dates. These are all pointers. They have stolen my child, it was a ploy,” said Zubeida, who reported the matter at Mikindani police station.
“I begged doctors to provide us with CCTV footage to trace the woman who fled with my child, but the hospital has remained mum,” she said. Residents now want the county government to investigate the hospital. Our efforts to seek answers from the hospital were thwarted by security officers, who locked us out of the facility.
But Jomvu sub-county deputy commander Jashon Polloh said the matter is under investigation.