Rose Njeri, a woman who is in her sixties, was detained at Nakuru Nursing Home for over ten months for failing to clear a medical bill.
Njeri was admitted to the facility in April 2022 and stayed in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for four weeks.
“The patient has been here for a very long time. Her medical bill is over Ksh2.5 million but it will be updated today.
“We usually update our records every morning at 9 am. With regard to the disease she was suffering from, we are not in a position to reveal the details,” revealed Kamau.
Njeri, who hails from Embu County lamented that people do not care about her.
“I came to Nakuru Nursing Home due to sickness. I was admitted to ICU for one month. I wasn’t able to speak or see.
“After a month I was taken to a private ward. I stayed at the ward until June 2022 when I got better. We have been left here like people who were thrown away. No one cares about us,” she explained.
Njeri is not the only patient detained at the facility. Mbaire, a mother of a toddler has been held hostage at the facility for over a year, denying his three-year-old kid a chance to stay with her mother.
According to Benard Kipkoech, an advocate of the High Court, the Kenyan constitution does not allow healthcare facilities to detain patients for a long time.
Kipkoech added that the best way to handle the situation is for the hospital to institute legal proceedings against any patient who fails to clear a bill once he or she has been given notice.
On Tuesday, March 28, Kirinyaga County Woman Representative Jane Njeri Maina presented the Health Amendment Bill 2023, that seeks to fine health facilities Ksh1 million if they detain a patient or dead body over unpaid medical bills.
“We know that Africans have an attachment to their dead. We know that Africans are not people who will say that because they cannot afford the bill, let us leave the dead body in the hospital. A hospital is like any other debtor.
“They know very well the psychological attachment that Africans have to dead bodies. So they take mere advantage of that fact to ensure they don’t release the dead body to the family to be laid to rest,” Njeri, stated.
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