Robert was admitted to Mater Hospital on April 4 with Covid-19 breathing complications. While hospitalised, he acquired severe infections after he was moved to general ICU where he stayed for a month until his death.
His brother, Benard Chiira, said Robert had kyphoscoliosis, an abnormal curvature of the spine that predisposed him to other infections. Ndirangu took longer to recover from ailments than other people.
“His doctors said Ndirangu would have walked away from the hospital a long time ago, if he didn’t have kyphoscoliosis,” Chiira said.
“In a patient with already compromised lung capacity, your breathing problem is compounded.”
By June 13, not only had he come off the mechanical ventilator and remained stable for a couple of days but he was also breathing on his own through an ordinary oxygen mask.
Suddenly his condition worsened rapidly.
It was so bad that when the doctors tried to get him off the life support machine, he suffered a six-minute cardiac arrest.
“Robert came out of the tube (mechanical ventilator) three times, only for his lungs to fail and he had to be returned to life support,” Chirra said.
“The first time, they succeeded in putting him back on life support without incident. The second attempt resulted in that six-minute cardiac arrest. The third stopped his heart for 18 minutes and he didn’t survive.
His brother said Ndirangu had developed a septic wound on the back, a result of lying on his deformed back for a long time. He needed nursing to ease the pressure and prevent bedsores and wounds.
“These infections were the constant sources of fevers and entry points for bacteria,” his brother said.
At the time of his death, Ndirangu had accrued a hospital bill of Sh10,150,323. It currently stands at Sh6,569,007.
The WHO says persons with disabilities are at higher risk of contracting Covid-19 due to dependency on others for contact-based assistance. They are at even a higher risk of mortality from severe Covid-19 due to pre-existing health conditions.
M-Pesa Paybill: 8040041 Account Name: Robert Ndirangu Medical Fund
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(Edited by V. Graham)