Ex-IEBC commissioner gets Sh2.6m compensation for losing wife

Tuesday, October 27th, 2020 13:41 |
Thomas Letangule

The high court has awarded former Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Commissioner Thomas Letangule Sh2.6 million as compensation for his wife’s death during childbirth.

Family Care Medical Centre and Doctor Eric Sagwa have been ordered to pay the said monies with interest by Justice Lucy Njuguna.

Letangule’s wife, Esther Letangule, died in April 2013 at the facility.

The Judge said the death of the deceased was not instantaneous as she underwent hours of prolonged suffering from the time she went into hospital.

“She went with the hope of receiving treatment in the morning, to the time of her death at about 6 pm on the material date,” noted the Judge.

Letangule had told the court that on April 10, 2013, his wife visited Family Medical Care Centre for antenatal care and complained of blurred vision, swelling of the limbs and face and a severe headache.

Upon arriving at the Family Care Medical Centre in Nairobi, she wasn’t immediately attended to despite being admitted to the facility. Her condition, consequently, deteriorated, leading to her death on April 10, the same day she was admitted to the hospital.

Letangule told the court that his wife who died aged 37 years would have worked for a period approximately 31 years taking into account the official retirement age of 60 years.

The court was told that she worked as an assurance sales person earning a monthly salary of between shs 50,000 to shs 70,000 and was also doing her degree which would have elevated her salary upon completion.

Letangule had sued two doctors Proffesor Joseph Karanja and and Dr Eric Sagwa who denied allegations of negligence saying that they gave her the best medical care.

They further said that Esther had a history of hypertension and had been given advice on management of her condition which she allegedly ignored.

"She presented herself to the institution when she already had blurred vision an indication of extreme hypertension and hence the decision to admit her",they contended.

The Judge however noted there was medical negligence by Family Care, which led to the deceased death.

The Judge noted that the medical records showed that even as the treatment was administered, the condition of the deceased went on deteriorating and at 10:15 am, she suffered the first convulsion and the second one at 12:05 pm.

“This meant that the treatment was not working and decisive action needed to be taken either to change the nature or course of treatment but nothing was done. Even after the second convulsion, there was still no clear plan to escalate treatment and there was no doctor on site,” noted the Judge.

“It was not until 3 pm when the Dr karanja showed up in the hospital and upon reviewing the deceased, requested for her transfer,” she said.

The judge however noted though Letangule gave evidence that the deceased was working as an insurance salesperson, he did not adduce any evidence to support the assertion.

“Save for the death certificate and copy of the identification card to confirm that she was aged 37 years, there is no proof of earnings or the nature of employment which the deceased was engaged in,” noted the Judge.

Reacting to the judgement, Letangule said that as a family they are happy that they have finally found closure.

"Even though the award may sound minimal, as a family we are happy that we found closure. It has been 7 years, I think justice has been served," he said.

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