What you need to know:
- The child’s next of kin Bridgers Alinda Mugenyi and the mother, Salome Aturinde have now sued RoseWell Women and Children Hospital Ltd seeking the immediate release of the child who is being used as collateral for the unpaid medical fees worth Shs4 million
A hospital is on the spot for allegedly detaining a newborn baby after the parents' failure to clear the medical bill.
The child’s next of kin Bridgers Alinda Mugenyi and the mother, Salome Aturinde have now sued RoseWell Women and Children Hospital Ltd seeking the immediate release of the child who is being used as collateral for the unpaid medical fees worth Shs4 million.
In their lawsuit filed before the High Court Civil Division in Kampala, Mugenyi and Aturinde are seeking for court's declaration that the acts of the hospital in detaining their baby pending payment of the outstanding medical bill has subjected the baby to inhumane, cruel, and degrading treatment.
"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," reads in part the court documents.
They also claim that the hospital's threats of selling the baby to Sanyu babies home reduced the baby into a commodity which act is inhuman, cruel and degrading thus seeking for the unconditional release of the baby from the illegal detention and be handed over to the mother.
They are also seeking a declaration that the hospital's acts of sharing the baby and its mother's health information with third parties is a clear violation of their rights to privacy.
According to the court's document, the baby's parents approached the hospital's health facility on May 7, 2023, the mother was recommended for cesarean birth on the following day and spent four days in the hospital after which she was informed that she could leave together with her baby upon clearing the bills.
On May 11, she was presented with two separate bills; Shs5,210,000 which she cleared and Shs4,367,000 which is still pending. But the bill increased due to the four more days she was detained in hospital.
"That the applicant undertook all the necessary steps to commit to pay the hospital bills but the respondent preferred to illegally detain the first applicant as the way to mount pressure on the second applicant," court documents read in part.
Adding: "That the respondent confiscated the second applicant's national identity card and that of the first applicant's next friend illegally thereby violating their right to property."
According to the 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 an illegality.
The court has directed RoseWell Women and Children Hospital Ltd to file their defence within 15 working days.