What you need to know:
- Dr Aceng, in a statement referred to as the autopsy, attributed Oulanyah’s death to multiple organ failure which ruled out the earlier comments made on March 20 by deceased’s father, Mr Nathan Okori, that his son had informed him that a woman from Acholi was used to poison him in tea.
The autopsy of former Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah read by the Minister of Health, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, on Tuesday traced the cause of death to a damaged spleen.
Dr Aceng, in a statement referred to as the autopsy, attributed Oulanyah’s death to multiple organ failure which ruled out the earlier comments made on March 20 by deceased’s father, Mr Nathan Okori, that his son had informed him that a woman from Acholi was used to poison him in tea.
How it started
Mr Nobert Mao, a close friend of Oulanyah since his school time in Makerere University, told Daily Monitor that the former Speaker has been in and out of hospital since 1990 when he got an emergency surgery.
On that fateful December 10, 1990, Mr Mao, who reportedly watched the spectacle from a distance, said after they called an assembly to call off a strike that had lasted days, Oulanyah who was the guild speaker, and had actively spearheaded the strike, showed up at the freedom square clad in the Makerere University red gown.
The state security heavily deployed within the university surged towards Oulanyah and pounced on the courageous young man.
“They descended on him and beat him very badly. He had to go for an emergency surgery and cut off his spleen so he has lived the rest of his life without a spleen,” Mr Mao narrated.
Mr Mao added that Oulanyah lived a painful life throughout his youth and adulthood.
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Dr Aceng, in specific terms, said Oulanyah’s death followed failure of his liver, lungs, kidney and heart resulting from the cancer, bacterial and viral infections, and bleeding in the intestines and that a missing spleen accelerated the demise.
Dr Joel Mirembe, a physiologist and chairperson of Uganda Medical Association of central region, last evening explained that a spleen is a body organ under the ribcage that is connected to blood vessels and produces antibodies that are responsible for fighting against pneumococcal bacterial family as well as Influenza .
“So when the spleen is not present, these bacteria can spread into all other body organs since it is the part of the body’s immune system organs that protect it against invaders or infections,” he said.
Dr Mirembe added: “It [spleen] filters blood and produces the cells that protect the body against infections. But someone can live without it as long as they take precautions to avoid bacteria.”
Doctors also said there are many reasons why a spleen can be removed: in adults when they get assaulted and it gets raptured while in children and sickle-cell patients, the spleen can momentarily break down.
Daily Monitor understands that since the incident in school, the former Speaker reportedly developed a hernia in 2019 which was operated on but later developed an acute bacterial infection.
Chief Justice Alfonse Owinyi-Dollo in separate speeches about Oulanyah’s health indicated that doctors at a hospital in Seattle, US confirmed that many of his organs had evidence of trauma aging decades earlier.
But Dr Aceng, during her speech in Parliament, indicated that Oulanyah suffered multiple organ failures due to progressive, recurrent, diffuse large B cell non-Hopkin Lymphoma, a type of cancer of the lymphatic system.
The lymphatic system is the body system that protects against illness-causing invaders, maintaining body fluid levels, absorbing digestive tract fats and removing waste from the body. It comprises bone marrow, spleen, tonsils and lymph nodes.