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Mediheal hospital, doctor ordered to pay ovum donor Sh1.1m for breach of contract

A Nairobi-based hospital and doctor have been ordered to pay over Sh1.1 million to a woman they agreed to collect an egg from last year to give to an unknown recipient.

Mediheal Diagnostic and Fertility Centre Limited and Dr Shaunak Khandwala were ordered by Milimani magistrate Lucy Njora to pay the woman, identified as AC, Sh1,139,665.06 for breach of contract.

Mediheal and Dr Khandawala have been given 10 days to pay the ordered amount to lawyer Geoffrey Langat of Fatah Advocates.

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Ms Njora made the ruling in default of appearance after Mediheal and Dr Khandawala failed to file a defence in the case filed by Mr Langat in 2022.

“Take notice that an interlocutory judgement was entered against you (Mediheal and Dr Khandwala) in default of appearance. A decree and certificate of costs were drawn and decretal sum now payable to plaintiff (woman identified AC) is KSh1,139,665,” Langat states in the demand for pay.

The hospital and the doctor have been ordered to pay within 10 days, failing which auctioneers will descend on their property to recover the said amount.

Ms Njora on January 30, 2023, entered a judgment against the medic and the health facility when they failed to respond to the case filed last year for breach of contract.

“Judgement is hereby entered for the plaintiff as against the defendants (Mediheal and Dr Khandwala) in the sum of Sh950,000 plus costs and interest,” ruled Ms Njora.

Legal and other costs were set at Sh57,550.

In the undefended suit, the woman told the court that on November 6, 2021, she entered into a written contract with the defendants to be an egg donor.

The defendants thereafter “put the plaintiff (ac) through a follicle retrieval (IVP) procedure which could lead to the extraction of the follicle.”

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Ms Njora heard that the procedure, which could take 45 days, involved laboratory tests, a strict diet and 12 injections that could disrupt her normal menstrual cycle and disrupt the natural hormonal process.

“The process was to finally lead to induced extraction/harvest of the ovum by Dr Khandwala to be sold to recipients not known to AC,” Langat stated in the evidence to the court.

According to the agreement, AC was to be paid Sh950,000.

However, Langat told the court that a copy of the agreement was not issued to his client (AC) when both parties executed it.

On December 15, 2022, when the plaintiff was due to harvest the follicles, the defendants terminated the said agreement and chased AC away “without proper communication or counselling”.

The court heard that as a result, the process was unilaterally stopped by the defendants and she was later given medication which led to “painful follicles, causing her to go through a long period of pain and suffering”.

Langat told the court that failing to complete the agreed-upon process resulted in psychological torture for the complainant.

The judge heard that the woman could be suffering from the effects of hormonal imbalance, leading to unusually moody moments that have affected her normal daily activities.

Langat told the court the woman had suffered loss and damage.

In her ruling, the judge said the plaintiff had proved her case against the defendants and granted judgment in her favour.

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