A neurosurgeon has been suspended after four Kenyan medics cut open the skull of the wrong patient at Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi.
One patient needed surgery on a blood clot on the brain, the other only non-invasive treatment for swelling.
But a horrifying mix-up of identification tags saw the wrong man wheeled into theatre, reports say.
The doctors did not realise their mistake until “hours into the surgery, when they discovered there was no blood clot”, the Daily Nation reported.
The head of the Kenyatta National Hospital said the patient was “in recovery and progressing well”.
Social media users have expressed shock that such an incident could have been allowed to happen.
It comes only six weeks after the health minister ordered an investigation into claims new mothers were sexually assaulted at the same hospital.
‘Patient in recovery‘
Hospital CEO Lily Koros said the hospital “deeply regrets this event and has done all it can to ensure the safety and well-being of the patient in question.
“We are happy to inform the public that the patient is in recovery and progressing well,” Mrs Koros added.
She said four staff – the neurosurgeon, ward nurse, theatre receiving nurse and anaesthetist – had been suspended.
“The management has suspended the admission rights of a neurosurgery registrar and issued him with a show-cause letter for apparently operating on the wrong patient,” Ms Koros said. A show-cause letter requires a staff member account for his or her actions.
But the doctor’s colleagues have protested the suspension, reports The Star, arguing it should be the person who put on the identification tag that should be punished.
The Nation goes on to report that – “in a miracle of some sort” – the two patients are in good condition. It adds that the one who had a clot might not need to undergo surgery after all after his condition improved significantly.