Wamatangi Grilled By Senate Over Baby Travis Death

    The lack of a pediatric intensive care unit and a neurosurgeon at Thika Level 5 Hospital may have contributed to the death of baby Travis Maina.

    This was revealed by Kiambu government officials and medics at the facility on Tuesday.

    According to them, the hospital does not have a pediatric neurosurgeon who could have saved the baby.

    According to them, neurosurgeons are mostly found in Level 6 facilities, such as the Kenyatta National Hospital, where the baby was referred for specialized care.

    The revelations came as doctors at the facility warned that removing the fork jembe from the juvenile’s head right away would have been more dangerous.

    “If you were to look at the CT scan, there was deep bleeding on the left side and you can imagine the size of a baby’s head and then it had gone in 4.25 cm deep,” a consultant urologist Wanjiru Kirimi said.

    “I think, even with the timely intervention, having penetrated the brain matter, there was something that was going to be lost.

    “And think that is the challenge they had even at Kenyatta.”

    Kirimi is the specialist who suggested the baby be referred to KNH.

    She was part of a team of Thika level 5 hospital medics who testified before the Senate’s health committee about the circumstances surrounding the minor’s death.

    Kiambu Governor Kimani Wamatangi, Health CEC Joseph Murega, and Health Chief Officer Patrick Nyagah led the team.

    The medics defended their handling of the baby and referral to KNH, telling Senator Jackson Mandago’s committee that they did everything possible to save the baby.

    “Seeing that at Thika Level 5 we lack a pediatric neurosurgeon, a pediatric anesthesiologist, and a pediatric ICU, I recommended referral to KNH,” Kirimi told the committee.

    Baby Travis died on the evening of October 11, 2022, allegedly after waiting too long for emergency treatment at KNH.

    According to the boy’s mother, the toddler died on the operating table after being rushed to Thika Level 5 Hospital from Ndula Dispensary.

    According to a report submitted to the committee by Dr. Philip Mulingwa, head of the facility’s surgical unit, the management of ‘penetrating brain injuries,’ as was the case with baby Travis, necessitates a comprehensive neurosurgical trauma unit, which the hospital lacked.

    “The only neurosurgical care Thika Level 5 Hospital can be able to handle are extra-axial (brain) conditions including soft tissue injuries and depressed skull fracture,” Mulingwa said.

    Governor Wamatangi acknowledged the challenges in health provision and promised to take action to improve the facilities.

    “In the next year, I promise, things will be different,” the county boss told the panel, adding that he was still setting up his government as he settle down to work.

    Nyagah stated that in order for the facility to be upgraded, an increased budget is required to meet all of the requirements for a Level 6 facility.

    “There is a thin line between what we are offering and what level 6 is offering but our budget is much lower,” he said.

    The committee heard on Tuesday how the baby was moved from a clinic to the Thika Level 5 and then to the KNH.

    Cyrus Maina, a nurse at Thika Level 5 Hospital, told the committee that on October 10, while running errands in Ndula sublocation, he came across baby Travis with a fork jembe lodged in his skull.

    He rushed to his nearby clinic, which he owns, and administered emergency care to the baby.

    “I applied WD40 (antirust agent) on the nails holding the fork jembe to make the nails loose.  With the assistance of local community members and a carpenter by the name Mr. Maingi who doubles up as Delmonte worker, we removed the nails with pliers and safely removed the handle (rod),” Maina told the committee.

    E-plus emergency medical services, a firm contracted by the county government to provide ambulance services, submitted proposals to the committee.

    The team and Thika Level 5 Hospital were pressed to explain why the baby was moved to KNH without a nurse.

    “Was there a nurse in that ambulance? What do regulations say?” Mandago asked.

    The teams admitted that the ambulance lacked a nurse.

    Mandago stated that the committee is now planning a visit to the KNH, where the baby and his mother are said to have waited for several hours due to a lack of Sh20,500 to secure his admission.