A couple has dragged Kampala-based Life Link hospital to the Civil Division of the High Court, accusing the medical facility of negligently causing brain damage to their newly born baby.
Julius Bizibu and Carolyne Mbabazi, in their suit filed on February , 2018, accuse Life Link together with its Doctor Denis Ssozi of delaying to operate a heavily pregnant Mbabazi , an act of negligence they construe to have led their son Jesse Katumba suffer damage to the brain.
In their suit, drawn and filed by Jude Mbabaali & Company Advocates, the couple asserts that when Mbabazi conceived, she had all her antenatal care at Life Link.
Apparently, when Mbabazi started feeling labour pains, on September 8, 2016, she was taken by her husband, Bizibu to the said hospital where she was at admitted at 9:00pm to deliver after unspecified requisite fee was paid.
According to the couple, though Ssozi was the only doctor on duty, he was not around and they were advised to wait for him.
However, they say that for about four hours they were waiting for Ssozi yet Mbabazi was enduring a lot of labour pains which forced them to ask what had happened to the doctor as he had delayed to come and attend to Mbabazi.
They say that the response they got by the hospital authorities was that Ssozi “had been held by traffic jam.”
“They waited for the whole night in vain until they lost patience as the second plaintiff was now feeling a lot of a labour pain and proposed that she be released to go to another hospital but the hospital management declined and they were assured that the doctor was on the way the coming,” the suit reads in part.
The couple waited until the following day at 9:00am when Ssozi surfaced and carried out an emergency caesarean section operation to remove the baby from the womb.
“It later emerged,” the couple states, “to the said doctor that the baby had detached from its mother’s system but because of the delayed operation to remove it from the mother’s womb it suffered oxygen deficiency thereby causing intensive damage to the brain.”
As if that was not enough, to their surprise, the couple says that all of the above, was kept as a secret to the extent that in the report Ssozi claimed that the delivery was “successful” and the baby had “no defect” at birth.
However, later the couple says that with the help of nurses at the hospital they noticed that the baby was not behaving normally and an ambulance to the cost of Shs 150, 000, was provided by the hospital to take the baby to International Hospital Kampala (IHK).
At IHK, the hospital says a report was made on April 11, 2016, by Dr Annet Kugonza Khing, a radiologist, which was to the effect that there was deficiency in the amount of oxygen reaching the baby’s body tissues.
Since IHK had no capacity to deal with the ailment; the couple was referred to St Catherine’s hospital, found in Kampala, ostensibly to seek an opinion from “an occupation therapist”.
That on December 10, 2016, the said therapist made a report which indicated that Mbabazi had prolonged labour asphyxia, causing brain injury to the child during birth – consequently affecting the baby’s body movements and muscle coordination.
“That it is clear from the above adduced facts that the 48 hours delay by the second defendant to operate the second plaintiff caused the damage of the baby’s brain ,” the suit goes on, adding that it was the negligent actions of Ssozi an employee of Life Link hospital they caused the said brain damage.
The particulars of negligence attributed to Ssozi are that he failed to attend to Mbabazi in time which they say is contrary to medical practice rules.
“The second defendant [Ssozi ] failing to be at work for 48 hours when he knew that he was the only doctor on duty to the second plaintiff [Mbabazi],” the suit states.
They further accuse Ssozi personally of failing to tell them the truth about the state of the child and taking “await and see approach: instead of opting an aggressive immediate treatment of the damage to the brain.”
Subsequently, besides an order, which would compel Life Link to treat their child, the couple wants the High court to order the hospital to compensate them trough paying them damages ranging from punitive, specific to general damages.
With that, the facility, has been given 15 days, by the deputy registrar of the civil division of the High Court, Sarah Langa Sui, to file its defence, lest judgment will be given without its input.
Contacted, Life Link’s lawyers Musa Kabega said that he couldn’t respond to the suit as they were yet to be served formally by the plaintiffs.