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KNH admits it buried woman without notifying family

A family is now demanding answers from Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) after it admitted that it buried its kin in an undisclosed mass grave without their consent.

The family of Sabenzia Kilong last week discovered that their kin was buried at the Lang’ata Cemetery, after their frantic search for months.

In a statement on Sunday, KNH admitted that the deceased was indeed admitted to the hospital after initially denying that she had been admitted there.

“We, the Kilong family have received a media response from the Kenyatta National Hospital concerning the sickness, death and burial of our late daughter/sister Sabenzia Chepkesis Kilong commonly known as Spe, Sape, or Spencier with shock and disbelief,” said Brian Kilong.

According to Brian, the family expected a remorseful response from KNH addressed to the family in recognition of the harrowing experience and trauma that they had been subjected to.

The family said Kilong who was a hawker in the city stopped communicating with them in December just before Christmas and in the last four months they have been looking for her at city hospitals and morgues including KNH.

“We visited Kenyatta several times looking for her both manually and in their records and they told us that they did not admit anyone by that description,” her family said.

This would later change after the Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI) which was investigating the matter traced her phone to the hospital.

The family said the DCI wrote to KNH inquiring for information of her whereabouts as that is the last place her mobile phone pinged.

It emerged that she had been admitted at the hospital under an unclear circumstance, the family said the detectives told them.

On Sunday, KNH CEO Dr Evans Kamuri said Ms Kilong was admitted there but under a different name.

“We would like to clarify that the deceased was admitted at the hospital under Sabenzia Kilong and not Spencier Kilong.”

The hospital added that the patient received treatment and care in their ward until December 28 when she unfortunately succumbed.

“Despite our best efforts we could not trace Sabenzia’s next of kin at the time of admission and throughout her treatment,” he added.

They said that they followed the Ministry of Health guidelines under the Public Health Act Cap 242 Laws of Kenya. The law recommends that a body should be removed from the mortuary within two weeks and thereafter disposed off.

Prior to that, a 21-day gazette notice should have been done for publication in the dailies with the names of the bodies for ease of identification.

“The Public Health Act CAP 242 allows hospitals to dispose unclaimed bodies after 10 days, however, KNH extends the waiting period by 11 days making it a total of 21 days”, the statement added.

It added that the body stayed unclaimed at the funeral home for four months and was released for burial on April 27, 2021.

“We understand the immense loss and emotional toll the death of a loved one causes, and we would like to extend our sincere condolences to the family of Sebenzia Kilong.”

“While we remain open and invite any further information, at present all indications are that the hospital followed all due procedure in admission, hospital care, farewell admission and finally burial of this patient.”

It concluded by saying they will continue to cooperate with relevant authorities on this matter.