Baby detained by hospital over Shs4m bill reunited with family after DNA

In this photo taken on September 22, 2023, Saloome Aturinde (L) and Bridgers Alinda Mugenyi (R), together with their lawyer Geoffrey Turyamusiima (C) stand at High Court after receiving their baby who was detained at birth by a hospital in Kampal.  PHOTO/JULIET KIGONGO

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  • But the trial judge adjourned the case to October 17 for cross examination of the applicants and the respondents.

After a successful DNA test, overjoyed parents reunited with their 4-month-old baby who was detained at birth by a major health facility in Kampala over failing to clear Shs4 million hospital bills.

On Friday, High Court judge Esta Nambayo officially handed over the baby to its biological parents Saloome Aturinde and Bridgers Alinda Mugenyi, following a paternity-proving DNA test at the Government Analytical Laboratory (GAL).

On August 30, High Court ordered RosWell Women and Children Hospital to meet costs for the DNA test “in the interest of justice for keeping the newborn baby away from its mother for months.”

“The results have confirmed that it is her baby. The baby seems to be in good condition, he is even smiling,” Justice Nambayo observed.

Explaining the DNA report, GAL senior analyst Musa Kirya told court that tests on the samples led to two conclusions.

“The results from the first analysis strongly support the proposition that Mugenyi is the biological father of the baby in question while the second one proved that Aturinde is the biological mother,” Kirya said.

According to him, RosWell paid Shs750, 000 for the tests and samples were were taken from the three in the presence of eight witnesses from the hospital and the baby’s caretaker.

Upon receiving her child, Aturinde said: “Thank God I have finally gotten my baby. The DNA results have proved that it is our child, and we now know what we are taking.”

In the case, court previously heard that the boy-child was held as collateral security before he was placed under foster care at Loving Hearts Babies home with RosWell reporting a case of baby abandonment at Central Police Station-Kampala.

The child, through her parents, seeks a court declaration against the private hospital. 

 "The respondent's (hospital) action of denying the second applicant (Aturinde) access to breastfeed or even deliver pumped breast milk to the first applicant(baby) is inhuman, cruel, degrading treatment and has subjected the first applicant to all health risks associated with not breastfeeding and the second applicant to psychological torture," the court documents read in part.

According to court documents, the applicants state that the hospital is not entitled to any payment of medical bills for the period the baby was placed under illegal detention, and that allowing such would be condoning illegality.

The trial judge adjourned the case to October 17 for cross examination of the applicants and the respondents.