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Medical Council to Hear Case of Intern Who Pulled Off Baby’s Arm Tomorrow

Dr Katumba Ssentongo, the Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioners Council (UMDPC) Registrar said that the tribunal that will sit at the hospital will first hear testimonies from the baby’s family before questioning the six doctors at the hospital.

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An inquiry in which six doctors at Jinja Regional Referral Hospital are being investigated for negligence after a medical intern pulled off a new born’s hand during a caesarean section starts on Friday.

Dr Katumba Ssentongo, the Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioners Council (UMDPC) Registrar said that the tribunal that will sit at the hospital will first hear testimonies from the baby’s family before questioning the six doctors at the hospital.

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Last year, Dr Mathias Ngobi an unsupervised intern doctor pulled off a baby’s limb as he was trying to help a mother who developed complications at 32 weeks of pregnancy. 

Later upon numerous complaints, the Uganda Medical Association visited the hospital and revealed that the lady was over bleeding and had a scar in the uterus arising from previous operations which affected the visibility of the doctor who was conducting the operation leading to errors.

Katumba says the doctors implicated including the one that was supposed to supervise this operation risk being suspended or de-registered from practice depending on the findings of the inquiry.

Currently, the council is investigating a total of 53 cases which are at various levels of hearing.

Katumba explains that when they receive cases, they go through three levels whereby when new cases come in, the first compile all the documentation they can get, later take the issues to an in house committee of ethics until they reach the final level which is the tribunal to do inquiry and issue a verdict.

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Of the 53 cases, only three have reached the tribunal level currently and yet 17 other cases have been half-heard by the committee. The rest are on the first level. 

However, even as an average of 50 cases is filed each year, many cases take very long to be finished raising questions of whether the council’s interventions ever yield any results.

Katumba says laying off cases depends on the evidence gathered and the technicalities of individual cases, for instance, he said for the case of the deceased journalist Nuliat Nambazira who died after giving birth at International Hospital Kampala and the hospital was accused of negligence, it had to be pushed back to the committee level after gathering new evidence which he didn’t reveal.

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