Revealed: What killed 7-month-old Baby Ethan at Shalom Hospital
The seven-month-old baby boy whose death has led to the closure of Shalom Hospital in Machakos County, was killed by an overdose of morphine — a drug medically prescribed to relieve pain.
Addressing the press at Shalom Hospital on Monday, Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board Chairman Prof. Fredrick Were said baby Ethan Muendo was injected a dose of morphine that was 20 times stronger than what his body could handle.
Prof. Were said Baby Ethan was supposed to be given an oral medication of the drug but since it was not available, the prescribing practitioner indicated he be injected with the dose of morphine.
“It was thought necessary that the child be given medication to reduce the pain that may come with the dressing. Medication called morphine was prescribed to be given by mouth.
“The boy was prescribed 0.2ml orally but the hospital did not have the syrup so it was changed to 20 miligrams injection instead of 1 miligram,” said Professor Were.
The overdose is said to have led to the child falling weak and drowsy.
“It ties with what happened… The child went drowsy, went home sleepy and was brought back still very sleepy and in that process of time the child was lost,” said Prof. Were.
The hospital has since been shut down and the Managing Director George Onyango alongside two other employees arrested.
Machakos Governor Dr. Alfred Mutua on Monday announced that the county government had withdrawn the hospital’s trading license.
The Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board has also revoked the practicing permit for the facility, which has in the recent past been on the spot for all the wrong reasons.
Reports also indicate that the employee who administered the lethal injection was reportedly not a trained medical practitioner but a patient attendant.
Speaking at the hospital on Monday, Governor Mutua said the hospital’s management had been given until 6pm to clear with the patients.
The child’s mother Juliana Mutheu says she took her son to the hospital on Saturday after the boy scalded his left hand with hot water.
At the hospital, she says a nurse administered an injection and told her to wait for about 20 minutes for it to relieve the pain, before she dressed the wound and allowed them to go home
“He was given an injection to relieve pain and we were told to wait for about twenty minutes. The nurse then washed and dressed the wound. We went home but the child got weak,” said the mother.
The woman says when she called the hospital and alerted them of her son’s condition, the nurse told her weakness was an effect of the drugs but the child would be fine.
When the situation persisted, she took the child back to the hospital and he was admitted to the Emergency Unit where he passed away hours later.
The attendant who administered the lethal injection has since been arrested as police probe circumstances under which the boy died.
The body of the boy was taken to Montezuma Monalisa funeral home in Machakos County.
Last month, the Shalom Hospital was on the spot after a woman delivered on the hospital’s floor in a case of suspected negligence.
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