Nansubuga’s family claim she was frustrated to death at Rubaga Hospital. COURTESY PHOTO

Nansubuga went to Rubaga Hospital on Februarys 18. This was the hospital the family trusted most, thanks in part for its medical history and “good doctors”, or so they thought.

At the hospital, the 35-year-old was told she had developed high blood pressure and was admitted but discharged four days later. However, her condition worsened a day after and she was taken back to Rubaga as an emergency case at 10pm on Friday, February 24, according to her sister, Ms Felista Nakamya.

“On admission, we realised that her condition was deteriorating so we requested if a referral could be written so we take her to Mengo Hospital, but the doctor in the ward said the referral could only be written on Monday by a senior consultant and that the scan results were missing,” says the deceased’s husband Micheal Kayonga.

The family was told to pay Shs20,000 for another scan, whose results, just like for the first scan, was never availed. Ms Nakamya narrates that two days after the admission, doctors on a ward round at about midnight asked for the previous scans, but the initial one was missing.

“She was told that her blood pressure would be monitored and she would be fine. She continued to request for a referral but was reassured by the health workers she would be fine. The blood pressure continued to rise and the abdomen continued to swell,” Nakamya recounts.

Nansubuga’s condition worsened. And on Thursday March 1, her husband’s inquiry on his wife’s deteriorating condition was meant with a rude response from a nurse on duty. “She asked why I did not go to Mengo Hospital or International Hospital if I wanted better care,” Mr Kayonga said.

The long wait for attention
He was further told that a consultant by the names of Dr Jumba Mukasa only comes on Mondays and Wednesday so decisions can only be taken then. Through several phone calls to friends and relatives, the family was able to contact Dr Peter Kibuuka, who arrived 30 minutes and reviewed the patient, who he found to be in extreme pain and with high blood pressure.

The family suggested that a caesarean operation be done, which the nurses agreed to but said the final decision would be made by a senior medical personnel.

On Friday, March 2, Nansubuga informed the midwife in-charge of the ward that the baby was no longer moving. The midwives listened three times and confirmed that they could not hear the heartbeat of the baby.

The following day, a female doctor, whose name the family could not readily establish, told them that she would be operated on the next day, which was a Sunday. On that day, a scan was done and a nurse told the family and the patient that the baby was fine and would be delivered by caesarean. The operation was, however, never done and no explanation was given.

“I slept around to ensure that on Monday morning, I sign the theatre documents so that the baby is removed to save the mother’s life. On Monday at about 11.30am, Dr Mukasa and Dr Joseph A. reviewed the patient on a ward round.

I personally begged to speak to Dr Mukasa as he was the one in charge of my wife. I had not spoken to him for the two weeks that my wife had been there but he told me that he knows this case and was working on it,” says Mr Kayongo.

At 12pm, Mr Kayongo was given a prescription to buy 200mg misoprostol and was instructed to get them immediately as any delays would cause danger to his wife. He jumped on a boda-boda and within minutes, he brought the drugs but was told to go back and bring a second drug yet this was not indicated on the prescription.

“The drug, we later understood, was meant to induce labour but after inducement there was no one to attend to her. I decided to do the delivery myself but the nurses saw me and then came and took over. They delivered the dead baby at around 4.45pm,” says Ms Nakamya.

“Immediately after delivery, the nurse went back to her station. I noticed that the patient was bleeding excessively so I asked another nurse who refused to help, saying she was not the one who worked on her,” Ms Nakamya says.

“I started running around the ward, frantically looking for the nurse who helped me, when I got her, I told her my sister was bleeding excessively. Though the nurse came, she could not find her medical form. By this time, however, she started to go into shock and the nurse requested that I and a security guard help her carry the patient to the examination room.”

The final deadly twist
However, there was no doctor and after an hour of profuse bleeding, a second nurse appeared at 6.30pm, and started calling the doctors on-call but no one appeared.

According to the family, they were informed that some of the doctors were in church for prayers and Dr Mukasa’s phone was answered by his wife, who said he was not around.

Dr Kibuuka was finally contacted at 6.57pm and arrived at 8pm. He prescribed five more tablets of misoprostol and discovered that the patient had also got a tear of her cervix, which was bleeding. Together with an intern doctor, the tear, which occurred at 4.45pm, was stitched three hours later.

But the sad twists was not about to end, as at 9.30pm, the family received another blow; the doctors had forgotten the forceps (an extractor consisting of a pair of pincers used in medical treatment, especially for the delivery of babies) inside the patient and had to be removed. This was done at 10pm. The nurses then decided to take the patient back to her bed from the emergency room where she had been put on life support without any explanations.

The family disagreed and took 45 minutes for the patient to be taken back to the emergency room and when they did, it was too late. Nansubuga died, leaving behind three children.

According to schedule at Rubaga Hospital, Dr Mukasa, who doubles as head of the maternity ward, was on duty for the time Nansubuga spent at the hospital. When contacted, he told this newspaper that he can only comment on this issue next week because he was busy in a meeting and declined to comment any further.

The husband of the deceased alleged that the doctor has asked them to own up but they have refused and the hospital has also called for a meeting to talk about compensation.

“This is not just about my wife, mothers go to hospitals to be saved but they have continuously died out of negligence. Such cases should not be left untold,” Mr Kayonga said. The hospital spokesperson’s phone went unanswered several times Saturday Monitor tried to reach her.

By Agatha Ayebazibwe, Daily Monitor

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