Monday, September 15, 2008

Reality Check: Error Intolerant Professions

Early into the Kibaki administration, we were shocked to hear of a tragic demise of one of the past great second liberation fighters. he was a man of great courage wit and focus. he however fought in a very unique style- using humor. his name was Wahome Mutahi alias whispers. he was a man i had read since i was in my primary school. the days when he partnered quite skilfully with maddo another pencil-great man . i was sad to learn that the man would not enjoy the new found freedom he so galantly fought for. i was sadder though that his death was unfortunate given the fact that it was by a botched operation.

a year after Wahomé's death, we got our last born and in the week of being around, the guy fell seriously ill. he just withered away like a shoot in the scorching sun. we rushed him to hospital and were told that he had to be operated in the stomach. his bowels were to be cut and reconnected! i looked at my son and wondered what the doctor was talking about. What was he going to hold while cuting him! i was utterly depressed. we were between a rock and hard place. the doc said it had to be done immediately else he would die. the operation was meant to be the following morning. our luck came when another doctor who was doing rounds in the evening happened into the wards and asked for blood and stool test after which he prescribed a drip laced with an anti-biotic. the gentleman never went for the operation and he is growing strong.

my neighbors case was similar but he took his kid to Gertrude's hospital where he was operated but never survived. just last month, my siz was told to undergo an operation to remove a fluid based goiter. the cost was 70,000 kshs. we sought a second and third opinion and eventually paid just 2000 for a jab to remove the thing!

i read the issue about misdiagnosis in the media jana, i also remember many stories where doctors have either killed or maimed patients for life due to wrong prescription. one may call it negligence, but am thinking its more driven by the financial rat race. it starts with people cheating in exams to go to medical school. then it goes to high school failures taking medicine since they can afford to pay parallel degree. you wonder how someone who does not even get the cut to take the simplest course at the university can qualify to do one of the hardest courses. it then ends up that for you to recover your money fast, you gotta go on a 'cutting' spree! surgery is very lucrative in the medical circles.

coming close to doctors making mistakes, are pilots felling planes 'kila uchao' what am persuaded to think is that there are some professions like politics and law where 'errors' can be accommodated. but in some, qualification is very important since one simple error is equal to one human being's life. We must just decide to lock out certain professions if at least to protect oursleves.


  1. Its sad that Second opinion is the reserve of the insured and those who can afford it. I worry very those who don't have the money and even that first opinion takes effort.God help us.

  2. even 'simple' things are misdiagnosed and treated as malaria, which in itself you can get several answers on how to treat it
    - as Gish says, a second opinion is for only those who can afford it

  3. @Odegle: part of the lack of morals and money at any cost culture that has attacked our Kenyan psyche.

  4. OD, glad to know that the incident with your little one had a positive outcome. I too read this article with great sadness. This is an area of practice that should be very highly regulated. Mistakes do happen, but from reading the article, these mistakes are just too egrigious, almost leaning towards incompetence. I think a crack down is warranted here. I have a difficult time understanding how a person who is entrusted with human life can put money ahead of doing what's right for a fellow human being.

  5. The article on Sunday just highlighted what the unfortunate patients have suspected all along about doctors. It is a pity though that the doctors protect each other and even when one of them find another on the wrong they are not willing to pursue it further than re-diagnosis.

    Quacks are aplenty.

  6. so true, bottom line we just need to be strict with some of these professions. its not just about the money. and thats why doctors dont 'graduate' but rather take an oath

  7. Odegle,
    its not that parallel students dont qualify, they do. any one with a C+ and above is considered good enough for uni.its just that the places are not enough, pushing up the intake grade.
    But after 6 years of paying close to 400K, payback needs to come pretty soon and pretty quick, hence the motivation to cut cut cut.


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