Kampala High Court Judge Benjamin Kabiito has today visited Nakaseke District Local Government Hospital to ascertain whether it was out of negligence that an expectant mother died unattended to by the doctor on duty.
The judge’s visit to the hospital was prompted by the evidence of a mid wife Easter Nanfuka who contradicted herself while defending the hospital.
In her testimony that she gave on February 13 this year, nurse Nanfuka informed court that during the emergency time when they needed the doctor to attend to the deceased, Dr. Mubeezi was within the hospital but she did not know exactly where he was.
Nurse Nanfuka had also told court that she had sent the security guard of the hospital to the doctor’s place to check whether he was there or not but the guard returned and answered in the negative.
While at the hospital this morning, the judge toured the administration block, maternity ward, labor ward and then the main operating theater, which hospital tour took about one hour.
When the judge reached the maternity ward, he asked the hospital administrator Ntumwa Matovu who was taking the team from Kampala around, the duty roaster for the ward staff.
The reason why the judge asked for the whereabouts of the staff duty roaster was to know whether the nurses on duty knew which doctor was on duty that fateful day to be contacted in case of an emergency.
According to the hospital administrator, it was Dr Davis Mubeezi on duty that fateful day May 5 2011.
Further, the judge wanted to ascertain the actual distance between where the doctor was at the outpatient ward and the main operating theater where the deceased lay in pain while waiting for the doctor to come and work on her.
The judge together with the lawyers of both parties agreed that it takes at least two minutes to walk from the outpatients ward to the main operating theatre.
Further, the judge together with the lawyers agreed that the distance between the staff quarters where Dr Mubeezi could have been, is about 200 meters apart.
But the husband to the deceased David Mugerwa, had alleged that the doctors had reportedly gone to the Nakasongola and Kampala respectively.
Nakaseke District Local Government on behalf of Nakaseke Hospital was sued by a civil society organization; Centre for Health Human Rights and Development along with David Mugerwa, husband to the deceased and their children Gloria Natongo and Suzan Nalukwago.
In their complaint, the petitioners are seeking for general damages saying Nanteza’s right to life was violated, an action they say; is contrary to the constitution.
The petitioners’ cause of action against Nakaseke local government is for the alleged deprivation of medical treatment to the deceased despite persistent pleas for assistance and also deliberate denial of access to the hospital ambulance when the husband to the deceased opted to transfer his wife to another hospital.
Medical statistics show that 17 pregnant women die on daily basis from preventable maternal deaths in Uganda.
The leading causes of maternal death in Uganda include; massive shortage of trained, motivated and equitably deployed professional health workers to attend to births, lack of access to emergency obstetric care, lack of access to quality antenatal care and lack of family planning services.