Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Nairobi Doctors: High on Alcohol, Anaesthetics and Drug Combinations

In Kenya, the trend of doctors, nurses and other medical practitioners carrying out almost life-threatening medical processes on patients while in the wrong state of mind is on the rise.
According to reports, some healthcare workers get high on anaesthesia and drug combinations, which according to Dr Maranga Orora of Kenyatta National Hospital, may be more common among those who work in theatres. "In theatres they have access to these drugs that can make them feel a certain sensation, and they may get addicted."

Unbeknown to patients, many doctors are struggling with alcoholism, something that may hinder their work. A high concentration of alcohol in the blood causes slurred speech, physical and motor impairment, difficulty in concentration, memory lapses, poor decision making, risky behaviour and blackouts.

From 2009 to date, Kenyan health authorities have determined 701 cases of alleged malpractice due to alcohol and drug abuse, with just as many cases going unreported.

In one such case, Dr William Omondi Oduor with registration number A-6695 was accused of leaving a patient with an open belly, following an operation during childbirth. He was deregistered after  the woman's death and the tribunal found him guilty of reporting to work drunk.

In another case, three year old Festus Mwashigadi had to undergo a second round of stitching because of a poorly done circumcision by an intoxicated doctor. In another harrowing incident in 2013, a doctor at the Mwingi District Hospital was struck off the register of medical practitioners for negligence. This is after he was found guilty of attending to a pregnant woman while drunk, leading to her death.

Meanwhile, Kenyan health authorities have promised stiff penalties for any health worker found guilty of stealing hospital medication.

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