BY GIKUNGA KARIUKI FOR EDAILY.CO.KE
Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko was forced to intervene and settle a Ksh185, 000 medical bill accrued by a middle-aged man in Kasarani after 100 youth stormed Nazareth Hospital mortuary demanding the release of the man’s body, which had been detained for close to a month.
The youth stormed the morgue carrying a coffin Monday evening.
The deceased, Joseph Mwangi, had been hospitalized at the facility for three months before succumbing to his illness a month ago.
His family was turned away, when they tried to talk the hospital’s management into handing over the man’s body to them for burial.
Led by MCAs, Mwaura Samora and Nancy Monyangi, the a-hundred-plus youth stormed the hospital few minutes to 7pm Monday, demanding the release of Mwangi’s body.
Mwangi had been taken to Nazareth Hospital after nurses in public hospitals went on industrial strike.
According to Nancy Monyangi, the accrued medical bill was too huge for Mwangi’s family and Clay City residents to settle despite making attempts to raise a part of it.
“We, therefore, decided to storm the mortuary and take Mwangi’s body by force,” said Ms Monyangi.
The hospital remained adamant that it won’t release Mwangi’s body until the medical bill was settled.
A section of the area MCAs called Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko on phone and requested him to settle the Ksh185, 000 to secure the release of Mwangi’s body.
Sonko cleared the bill Monday evening and Mwangi’s body was handed over to his family, but after another 30-minute wait.
According to Nazareth Hospital administrator, Mwangi – who was in bad shape – was admitted to the hospital three months ago, treated and “discharged, but no one came to see him until the time of his demise.”
“It is recently when Mwangi’s family approached us with Ksh2, 000, but the bill had accumulated to Ksh170, 000. We urged them to look for a more significant amount of money so that we could waiver the balance, but instead, they resorted to storming the hospital accompanied by a group of youth,” said the administrator, identified as Damaris.
“They really caused panic among patients admitted at the health facility,” she added.
The hospital administrator says tension was high, even after Governor Sonko had settled the medical bill because the youth were demanding for immediate release of Mwangi’s body, yet the hospital administration had to ensure that money sent via bank by Mike Sonko had been credited to the health facility’s account.
According to Damaris, patients owe the hospital over Ksh5 million, which was accrued when nurses in public hospitals had downed their tools.
“We rarely turn away patients due to their financial status,” said Damaris.
Mwangi’s body will be buried Tuesday, November 7 at a public cemetery in Kiambu County.