Workers To Be Charged After Rat Eats Lifeless Baby

What you need to know:

Ms Sylvia Namubiru, the executive director of Legal Aid Service Providers’ Network, said if it is true that the baby’s head was eaten by rats, then it means the hospital’s duty to care for the dead body was breached.

The administrators of a morgue at Kawempe National Referral Hospital in Kampala are likely to be charged with negligence after they reportedly failed to take care of a dead body.

A postmortem report released by police on Thursday last week confirmed that the corpse of a pre-mature baby who di€d at the hospital earlier in the week was eaten by rats.

Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson Patrick Onyango told this publication that the report indicated that rats ate the baby’s corpse while in the mortuary.

“The injury on the head was due to activities of predators/rodents like rats. This was after the d€ath of the baby. The administrators of the mortuary are likely to be charged with negligence,” Mr Onyango said on July 27.

On Tuesday last week, Prof Joel Okullo, the chairperson of the Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioners Council, said if health workers are found guilty, they could face sanctions in the council’s rule book such as a reprimand, suspension, and erasure from the registry, rendering them unable to practice.

Mr Onyango, however, said no arrests had so far been made since investigations are still ongoing.

He also revealed that the report indicates that the baby di€d of a condition known as birth asphyxia.

“The condition is due to insufficient oxygen levels in the body, usually due to prolonged labour,” Mr Onyango said.

Police took on the mantle of probing the hospital in question early this week, after a couple questioned the circumstances of the death of their newborn, whose part of the head was allegedly eaten by rats.

Ritual allegations

Ms Yvonne Ainembabazi, 20, and Mr Sulaiman Waswa, 30, residents of Mutundwe, a Kampala suburb, alleged that a deep wound that their baby sustained on the left side of the face was done for ritual purposes, saying it was inconsistent with the alleged rat bites.

The strange wound on the corpse prompted the grieved parents and relatives to demand an explanation from one of the hospital staff, who purportedly insisted that the incursion was caused by rat bites, and blamed the latter, for leaving the body without a coffin.

The inquiry into the matter commenced on Monday (July 24), with police moving the body of the baby to Kampala Capital City Mortuary in Mulago Hospital for autopsy.

Samples were also extracted from the baby’s mother, Ms Ainembabazi, for deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) to ascertain if she was the biological mother or whether her child had been swapped.

The DNA results are yet to be released according to police.

Ms Sylvia Namubiru, the executive director of Legal Aid Service Providers’ Network, said if it is true that the baby’s head was eaten by rats, then it means the hospital’s duty to care for the dead body was breached.

“We respect the d€ad. They must be kept in a dignified manner. If it is true that the body was left to be eaten by rats, then there was negligence on the side of the hospital,” Dr Namubiru said.

She added in case the aggrieved family is not satisfied with the results of a postmortem, they can equally engage a lawyer to undertake independent investigations and see if they have a cause of action.

“They need to look for facts, are rats in the hospital? and at what point and under what circumstances did the rats eat the body among other facts? to see if the facts are in agreement or are not in agreement with other investigations,’’ she said.

Ms Sarah Opendi, the chairperson of the Uganda Women Parliamentary Association, and former State minister for Health, described the incident as unfortunate, saying the hospital should pay for the negligence exhibited.

“How can rats be in the hospital in the first place? I expect a hospital to be a clean environment free of rodents, cockroaches, etc. That is why they have operational funds appropriated to clean and fumigate the hospital,” Mr Opendi, who is the Tororo District Woman MP, said.

“The hospital should pay for this negligence, though no amount of money equals the life of a child,” she added.

Dr Emmanuel Byaruhanga, the executive director of Kawempe National Referral Hospital, said he could not comment on the issue at hand since the matter was being investigated by Police.

“Please, this issue is under police [investigation],” Dr Byaruhanga said in a WhatsApp message.

Commenting on the findings of the postmortem report, Mr Emmanuel Ainebyoona, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Health, said it is unfortunate that such an incident occurred.

Mr Ainebyoona, however, said the Ministry of Health would work with the Kawempe Hospital administration to rid the hospital of rodents.

Mr Sulaiman Waswa, the father of the deceased, has appealed to the Prime Minister, Ms Robinah Nabbanja, to intervene in the matter.

“Which kind of rat was that? I appeal to our beloved Prime Minister to intervene so that the truth can be told. We pray for justice to prevail,” Mr Waswa said.

The police statement indicates that on July 20, Ms Ainembabazi and Mr Wasswa were referred to Kawempe National Referral Hospital from Lwanyanga Clinic.

It is alleged the mother had a normal delivery of a baby boy of about eight-and-half months from the clinic, but they were referred for the baby to be put under an incubator.

On July, 22, the baby was put on oxygen and around 21:30hrs, the child was pronounced dead and was taken to the hospital mortuary.

The compound of the hospital has several garbage bins for proper waste management.

However, a heap of medical and non-medical waste wrapped in black and red polythene bags stand firm adjacent to the hospital mortuary and can easily attract rats.

A staff this publication talked to yesterday said bodies in the mortuary are well kept in the fridge. Last week, the police said in a statement that the mortuary was not well attended to and that the baby was yellow, with a big cut on the left side of the head.

In addition, the police said a death enquiry file was opened and a statement was taken from a mortuary attendant.




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Articles

Back to top button