High Court in Kampala has fined Mulago National Referral Hospital 85 million Shillings as general damages to a couple whose twin baby mysteriously got lost at the facility more than three years ago.
The couple; Michael Mubangizi and Jennifer Musimenta, sued the hospital after one of their twin babies allegedly went missing shortly after birth on March 12, 2012. Presiding judge Lydia Mugambe Ssali held that the baby got lost due to the negligence of Mariam Mundida, the mid-wife on duty that fateful day.
The judge also justified the 85 million Shillings awarded to the couple on grounds that they suffered psychological torture of not knowing or burying their own baby, a cherished ritual in African culture.
She added that this case is a pointer to a bigger problem of under staffing in Mulago and the country at large. In her defense, the mid-wife on duty that fateful day told court that she had to attend to another expectant mother and only remembered about her when she had returned to her home.
Also in her judgment, the judge took note of the psychological torture the couples goes through on daily basis when people continuously ask them where the other twin baby is.
” Accordingly, the plantiffs (couple) claim is allowed in part with the following declarations and consequential orders which I find necessary to nip in the systematic problems in Mulago in the bud.” ruled Justice Mugambe.
The couple had asked for a compensation of 300 million Shillings but the judge said it was on a higher side since they did not suffer cruel psychological torture.
The judge ruled that Center for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD), that was a joint petitioner, be allowed free access into the health facility to continuously to ensure that steps are being taken in full filling the orders of court.
Police was also directed to conclusively investigate the disappearance of the twin baby in question and report to court its findings within six months from today.
Reacting to the judgment, Michael Mubangizi, the father of the missing twin baby, welcomed the award but was quick to say that that money is not everything as they still want Mulago hospital to avail them with their child whether ‘alive’ or ‘dead’.