Medical negligence and the lack of CT scan machines in two hospitals are among the events that led to a newborn baby losing their arm just a few days after birth, the Senate has been informed.

The Senate Health Committee has initiated an investigation into the incident where baby Jennifer Mwasi lost her right arm due to negligence by doctors at Wesu Hospital in Taita Taveta.

According to the report, baby Mwasi was born on January 21, 2024, at ten minutes to nine in the morning at Wesu Hospital, weighing 3,300 grams.

The report was presented before the Senate to respond to a question posed by Senator Hamida Kibwana.

However, on January 29, 2024, just eight days after being welcomed into the world, doctors at Coast General Hospital in Mombasa agreed to amputate the baby’s arm, which had become gangrenous despite receiving treatment at Wesu Hospital and Moi Referral Hospital in Voi.

It all began when the mother of baby Mwasi was diagnosed with complications during childbirth, the Senate was told.

“During childbirth, the mother was found to have complications. Suspecting that the baby may have been affected, a treatment process was initiated, where the doctor on duty recommended an injection. This required medication to be administered intravenously, a procedure that was successfully carried out through the right hand,” said the report presented by the Taita Taveta County Health Department.

On January 23, 2024, 36 hours later, a nurse on duty discovered a blood flow-restricting device still attached to the upper part of the baby’s right arm.

Upon examination, it was found that the arm was swollen and weakened. That day, a Medical Officer communicated with his counterpart at Moi Referral Hospital in Voi and advised continuing treatment for the baby and conducting a CT scan.

“On January 24, the Medical Officer consulted a surgical specialist and was instructed to conduct a CT scan, but the machine was not operational. On January 25, the arm showed signs of improvement, but the fingers were still paralyzed. The decision was made to continue treatment,” the report stated.

The Senate heard that on January 29, 2024, the arm showed no signs of recovery, prompting a decision to transfer the baby to Voi Hospital for further treatment, before being transferred the same evening to Coast General Hospital.

“Due to the lack of a CT scan machine at Moi Voi Hospital at the time, the baby was transferred to Coast General Hospital. The decision was made to amputate the arm at the upper part of the forearm.”

Following the incident that sparked outrage, the Taita Taveta County Health Minister has written to the Clinical Officers’ Council to initiate an investigation, with officers who attended to Baby Mwasi during that period, including the officer on duty, suspended from duty.

“It has been alleged that while on duty on January 21, 2024, at Wesu Hospital, Taita Taveta, the registered Clinical Officer named herein neglected his duty, causing the newborn baby to become paralyzed and subsequently have his right arm amputated,” wrote Mr. Gifton Mkaya.