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Ex-worker accuses Lugulu hospital of misdiagnosis after going blind, deaf.

A family in Kakamega wants justice for their son who was allegedly dismissed from Lugulu Mission Hospital after a misdiagnosis that left him blind and sore.

Erastus Indangasi, 29, a former clinical officer at the hospital in Bungoma, says he could also have gone completely deaf following a case of malaria on November 16, 2016.

"I went to the lab and had tests done. I had malaria," he says at his home in Chevoso village, Malava sub-county, on Wednesday.

"A fellow doctor prescribed quinine and ceftriaxone which were to be administered intravenously. I had not done this since childhood."

Indangasi narrates that his body reacted by developing ugly dark spots and that blood, water and pus started oozing from all of his orifices. He went blind a day later.

His was a severe case of the Steen Johnson's Syndrome referred to as Toxic Epidermal Necrosis-TENS.

One of Indagasi's eardrums ruptured, causing him to lose hearing on one side.

He adds that he now has to buy 'tears, which is how he describes a drug that keeps his eyes lubricated as his glands were destroyed.

'It costs me Sh1,400 every month. I have to buy tears since my eyes can't produce any."

Indagasi claims he was fired from the hospital in June 2017 and asked to collect his benefits for the 18 months he had worked there.

'They said they could no longer have me as their employee, since there was no slot for a blind medic, and just like that, I lost my job."

The former clinical officer says his efforts, for the last one year, to seek affordable medical attention to restore his eyesight haven't borne fruit as he cannot afford it.

'The cheapest eye specialist I saw said an operation on both eyes would cost me Sh800,000 and even then, the chances of seeing again are 50/50," he says.

"I don't have that kind of money. The ear specialist needs Sh250,000 to restore the damaged eardrum. I also can't afford this. I lost the only dependable source of income I had - my job."

Indangasi wants the hospital to compensate him for the alleged misdiagnosis and wrongful dismissal as he did not lose his intellect when he became blind.

The man who enrolled for a Braille course also wants to be reinstated as a clinical officer since he can do this job or serve in any other relevant department.

'All this while I thought the hospital would assist me since I was their staff member but they didn't. The contract stated that I was entitled to a full medical cover," he says.

"It was their doctor who prescribed the drugs which were purchased from their pharmacy. It was their nurse who administered the drugs and I was their staff member. I knew I deserved to be compensated but they threw me out in the cold. I know I can still work if reinstated."

Indagasi's parents James and Agnes want justice served as he was the only working member of their family.

'He fell sick in their hands and because of their mistake yet they fired him and denied him any help," the father claimed.

"He was their worker. It was unfair for them to do what they did. Someone out there should help us so that my son gets justice. He needs compensation but most of all, he needs funds for the surgeries so he can live a normal life again."

Hospital responds

Reached for comment on Wednesday, the medical officer in charge of the hospital acknowledged that Indagasi worked and was treated there.

But Oliver Mamati denied that the facility was responsible for his misfortune.

"By the time Indagasi came to the hospital on that fateful day, he was already on a concoction of antibiotics which he bought at a different place, not at the hospital," he said.

"He said he had a rash that had progressed. As such, we are not responsible."

Mamati further denied that the former clinical officer was given an intravenous treatment, saying this was only administered orally.

He accused Indagasi of trying to slander them yet "we did all we could to help him."

The officer refused to comment on the claim of wrongful dismissal, saying the matter was being handled by a court.
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Publication:The Star (Nairobi, Kenya)
Date:Jan 3, 2018
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