A family at Thunguma village in Nyeri county is in agony after their kin’s body is detained at Nyeri County Referral hospital for more than a month over Ksh2 million bill they owe a private hospital.
The family of Joseph Mwaniki, 28, an orphan and a father of one who was involved in an accident and died while undergoing treatment at a private hospital says that the county hospital has refused to release their body despite raising close to a million shillings.
Speaking to the press, family spokesperson Hellen Wangui Maina who is the deceased's aunt said their troubles begun when Mwaniki was involved in a road accident at Chaka while on his way from work and was rushed to County Referral Hospital while in a coma.
However, at the time, the hospital's Intensive Care Unit was not in operation due to lack of drugs and they were referred to Olive Hill hospital for specialized treatment.
Mwaniki, unfortunately, succumbed to injuries after six months of treatment leaving behind a bill of over Ksh2 million.
"When the hospital realized that we were not in a position to pay, they moved the body to County Referral hospital with instruction that no one should collect the same without their clearance. Since then, we have been holding fundraising but each time we take something small they refuse to give us our body,” Wangui said.
Wangui says that they had already bought a coffin to bury the body but now they do not know what to do with it.
"As a family, we want to appeal to well-wishers and the government to intervene so that we can give our kin last respect. In fact, we find it strange for a government hospital to allow us to be punished due to poverty," said Wangui.
Former Nyeri Mayor Wanyaga Gathaka who has been assisting the family urged Nyeri governor Mutahi Kahiga to intervene and order the release of the body to the family and lead negotiation on an amicable way of settling the bill.
"This problem should be solved by the county government. They are the ones who made this patient be treated at a private hospital due to the lack of drugs at their ICU. It's strange that they are also being used to detain the body," Wanyaga said.
When contacted, Olive Hill Hospital management refused to speak to the media.