Body of university student who died last month detained over Ksh9.4m medical bill

Isaac Odhiambo whose body is detained at the Nairobi Hospital [Photo courtesy]

A family in Utawala is in agony not knowing what to do after Nairobi Hospital detained their son’s body over an outstanding Sh9.4 million medical bill.

The family of the late Isaac Odhiambo who died on March 26, 2020, says the coronavirus pandemic has even made it worse for them because they cannot hold a fundraiser.

The deceased was a final year Bachelor of Commerce student at the Dedan Kimathi University in Nyeri.

His father, Frankline Ochieng says they have raised Ksh4 million so far but Nairobi Hospital won’t release his son’s body until the outstanding amount is fully settled.

“We thought that when we pay part of it, the hospital would give us the body for burial so somebody gave us a soft loan of Sh3 million and we have managed to raise another Sh1 million from public donations via M-Pesa. We paid the Sh4 million but they (hospital) refused and demanded that we look for the remaining balance,” Ochieng told a local daily in an interview.

“Coronavirus has been our greatest undoing. So coming together for a harambee is impossible. The hospital wants us to have sureties and a payment plan in three months. But how do you pay such a figure in three months? he posed.

Odhiambo had earlier been diagnosed with a shortage of blood platelets at Metropolitan Hospital in Buruburu where he was taken after complaining for a long time about tiredness.

He was treated and discharged. He went back to school to defend his project but his roommate called his parents a few days later telling them their son was sickly. 

When they picked him, his condition deteriorated and was referred to Kenyatta National Hospital on February 10 but the beds were full.

They decided to take him to Coptic Hospital where they were referred to the Nairobi Hospital or Aga Khan University Hospital citing that they did not have the machinery to treat him.

They opted for Nairobi Hospital where he was put in an isolation room as his immunity was vulnerable and a few days later, he was in the ICU until March 26 when he died.

His father says they have written to the Nairobi Hospital twice but the hospital insists that the bill be paid in full or sureties be given to pay the bill within three months.

The hospital in a rejoinder said it cannot comment on the issue.