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Roswell Hospital Case: GAL Yet to Complete DNA Tests :: Uganda Radionetwork

Roswell Hospital Case: GAL Yet to Complete DNA Tests

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They claim that the hospital even threatened to sell the baby to Sanyu Baby’s home. According to the parents, the hospital prevented the baby’s mother from breastfeeding or providing pumped breast milk to the child.
Father Bridgers Rogers Mugenyi (left) Saloome Aturinde the mother ( middle)and their lawyer Geoffrey Turyamusiima (left) at the Civil Division.

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The Government Analytical Laboratory (GAL) is yet to complete DNA tests to establish the paternity of a four-month-old baby, who was allegedly detained by Roswell Women and Children's Hospital due to unpaid medical bills, as revealed during a High Court hearing on Tuesday.  

The baby was brought to the High Court last week under the orders of High Court Civil Division Judge Esta Nambayo. However, the mother, Saloome Aturinde, who was accompanied by her husband, Brigders Rogers Mugenyi, became emotional. Aturinde expressed her inability to confirm whether the baby was indeed the one she had given birth to, as the baby was taken from her immediately after birth due to outstanding medical fees.

In response, the Court instructed Roswell Hospital to cover the costs of DNA testing to determine paternity and adjourned the case to Tuesday. During the proceedings, Semakula Mukiibi, the lawyer representing Roswell Hospital, informed the Court that samples were collected from the baby and both parents on Friday as ordered by the Judge. However, Mukiibi stated that the experts at GAL have indicated that the results would likely take about 14 working days to be ready.

Given this information, both legal representatives, Christopher Ocom and Geoffrey Turyamusiima, requested an adjournment until the results were available. The Judge subsequently granted an extension to September 22nd, 2023. Turyamusiima told journalists outside the court that the delay in obtaining results continues to infringe on the already violated human rights of their clients—the baby, mother, and father.   

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Luganda Audio  

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Bridgers Alinda Mugenyi and Saloome Aturinde sued Roswell Women and Children Hospital Limited last month for retaining their newborn baby. Through their lawyers, the couple claimed that the hospital's actions treated their baby as a commodity, which they deemed inhumane, cruel, and degrading. The couple alleged that the hospital even threatened to sell the baby to Sanyu Baby's home. They further noted that the hospital prevented the mother from breastfeeding or providing pumped breast milk to the child, raising concerns about health risks and the mother's distress. 

The parents sought general damages for the violation of their constitutional rights and freedom from inhuman, cruel, and degrading treatment. According to the provided evidence, on May 7th, 2023, Mugenyi accompanied Aturinde to Roswell Hospital when her amniotic fluid started flowing. Aturinde had been receiving antenatal care at the same hospital. A cesarean birth was recommended, and the baby was placed in the nursery for further care. 

Records indicate that the hospital informed the parents they could only leave after settling the medical bills, which were presented on May 11th, 2023, amounting to 5,210,000 Shillings for the mother and 4,367,000 Shillings for the baby. Although Mugenyi paid the bill on May 15th, 2023, the hospital reportedly refused to release the baby to the mother. 

The case revealed that despite the initial unpaid bill of 4.3 million Shillings, the amount accumulated to 16.2 million Shillings as of May 27, 2023. Last week, the hospital's lawyer, Semakula, clarified that the baby was not with Roswell Hospital but with Loving Hearts Baby's Home. He explained that the baby was born with respiratory complications and managed at the Neonatal section due to being born prematurely. 

He attributed the current situation to media sensationalism. Mukiibi further noted that they had contacted the baby's grandfather, who believed the baby had died. Roswell Hospital reported a case of baby desertion to the police, leading to the involvement of the Kampala Capital City Authority's Probation Officer, who placed the baby in a safe location.