The surgeon, the staff involved in the surgery and the CEO of Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya, were all suspended, according to a statement by the hospital on Friday, as cited by the Guardian.
This incident which raised concerns regarding the services at the hospital is the latest one to hit the facility in recent weeks, after several other allegations of staff sexually assaulting patients and the theft of a newborn from the hospital.
An investigation is pending into the recent incident that involved an operation "on the wrong patient" until which the staff associated with the incident remains suspended.
There had been a confusion between one patient, who needed a blood coagulation evacuated and another patient, who just required solution for a swollen head, according to reports. The patient with the blood clot was waiting to undergo a surgery while the other was only awaiting treatment for swelling, which required a non-invasive procedure. Reportedly their ID tags got mixed up and that led to the wrong patient being operated on.
"The hospital profoundly laments this occasion and has done whatever it can to guarantee the security and prosperity of the patient being referred to," the hospital said in a statement, according to the Guardian.
It included that the patient was "in recuperation" and "advancing great."
According to Daily Nation newspaper, the surgeons did not realize their mistake until “hours into the surgery” when they failed to find a blood clot in the man’s head. The incident took place on Feb. 19, when the wrong person was wheeled into the operation theater.
Hospital Chief Executive Lily Koros said they "deeply regret" the mix up, according to reports. Koros assured that the facility was doing everything it could to "ensure the safety and well-being of the patient in question."
"We are happy to inform the public that the patient is in recovery and progressing well," she added. "The management has suspended the admission rights of a neurosurgeon registrar and issued him with a show-cause letter for apparently operating on the wrong patient."
Some reports even claimed last week that one of the patients affected by the neurosurgical mix-up died after the incident. The hospital’s Corporate Affairs and Communications Manager Simon Ithai assured on Sunday that none of the two patients died.
Ithai also added that the death of a patient at the hospital, which made the news on Sunday was unrelated to the mix-up.
"The late Angelos Miano whose story appeared in one of the daily Newspaper (sic) and social media refers him (sic) as one of the patients involved in the unintended surgery was not factual."
Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentist Board chief executive Daniel Yumbya claimed this incident was the first such case in the country.
“The board has heard nearly 1,000 cases of medical malpractice in the last 20 years,” Soy said.
The Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentist’ Union were the ones who defended the hospital and stated that staff shortages at the hospital were leading to a lack of adequate space to operate in.
“You find one doctor could be doing 10 to 19 operations (per day),” Chief Executive Ouma Oluga said.