AP Investigation: Hospitals imprison patients in Kenya

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — An Associated Press investigation has found evidence of hospital imprisonments in Kenya and more than 30 countries worldwide, including the Philippines, India, China, Thailand, Bolivia and Iran.

More than a year after Robert Wanyonyi first arrived at Nairobi’s Kenyatta National Hospital after being shot in a robbery, he remains unable to leave.

Doctors say there is nothing more they can do for him. But because Wanyonyi has not paid his bill of nearly 4 million Kenyan shillings ($39,570), administrators are refusing to release him.

At Kenyatta National Hospital and at an astonishing number of hospitals around the world, if you don’t pay up, don’t go home. The hospitals often illegally detain patients long after they should be discharged, using armed guards, locked doors and even chains to hold patients.

EDITOR’S NOTE: First in a two-part series on hospitals that detain patients if they cannot pay their bills.