Friday June 3 2011

Distraught couple sues hospital after loss of baby

By Dalton Wanyera

There was sorrow and fear at Jinja Regional Referral Hospital maternity ward on Wednesday morning as doctors, journalists and police detectives made rounds at the health facility following the death of a new born.

The parents of the deceased alleged that the death resulted from neglect of duty.
Ms Margret Nabirye left her home in Kayunga District on Sunday at 9am for the hospital to make sure her life and the baby’s were guaranteed. Sadly, it was not to be.

“We got nothing here except losing what we had,” Mr Benjamin Schaf, a German, who came in the country to standby his wife through labour, said.

“The purpose of coming to hospital is to ensure life is safe. I lost my baby because of their negligence. Their duty is to save lives but if they have failed, they should resign. Imagine, the only time we got attention from this hospital is after the baby passed on. I have filed a complaint at the police. This matter has to be thoroughly investigated,” he added.

Ms Nabirye described what she went through as “torture” by the medical staff. “These people should improve. I heard countless insults from the nurses using obscene language. They handled me like I was a thief pulling me, from all sides. When I told them it was painful, I was told no one goes to the maternity ward when they are young,” she said.

Many patients and attendants said the medics’ behaviour was intolerable. Ms Harriet Najjemba, who was attending to her sister, suffered similar mistreatment in 2009 and has since suspended issues of child bearing.

Mr Ivan Kimalyo, the criminal investigation officer, Jinja Central Police, said it was the second complaint in May concerning neglect of duty by medical practitioners.

Two nurses from the hospital were arrested last year by police over similar charges but were released on bail.

It is reported that Dr James Nyalyo, a senior hospital staff, had told the expectant mother that she would not have a normal delivery.

Ms Nabirye, who is still lying in hospital nursing surgery wounds, said she was left at the mercy of nurses doing internship who could only order her to stop shouting.

“From the time I got here, I didn’t see any doctor or qualified nurse. I was being attended to by two trainee nurses. I saw Dr Nyalyo at the last minute. He came and just said my case was an emergency and ordered I be rushed to the theatre.

However, the hospital’s principal administrator, Mr Charles Tumusiime, said he was not aware the doctors were not on duty although he admitted that several run private clinics in town.
He added: “Allegations that she was attended to by trainee nurses are not true.

The file indicates she was admitted by a qualified nurse. It is also on record that the patient was not cooperative with medics. So attending to her was not easy. But we will investigate the matter thoroughly.”

He said the structures of 15 years can no longer effectively accommodate the workload which has more than doubled. Mr Tumusiime said there are three gynecologists and due to the present workload, they needed two more.

Worse still, Mr Schaf was told the autopsy could not be carried out on Wednesday since the pathologist was in Kampala.

“I just hate the whole thing. I bought everything since the hospital did not have the needed items to facilitate delivery. Now someone tells me if I want a post-mortem I have to give the pathologist transport,” he said with dismay.

By press time, Dr Nyalyo was said to be busy in theatre and could not comment on the matter.