Last year, The Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioners Council (UMDPC) was tasked to investigate the alleged deaths following a neurosurgical camp at Mengo hospital and provide a detailed report of what happened. The report has been released today implicating the Intensive Care Unit and High Dependency Unit for the cause of these deaths.
While Mengo hospital has been exonerated from allegations regarding the death of the five patients in the camp, the report shows that after the surgeries four patients that had been taken to the ICU died, resulting from infections and blood clots that made it difficult for the patients to breathe.
“We have had cases that died following the surgery. The surgeons did their work, patients were taken out of the theatre and depending on their response some were taken to the ICU, unfortunately four of them died in the ICU due to infections and blood clots in the lungs which affected their respiratory system,”Okullo Joel, chairman UMDPC said
It is against this background that Sarah Opendi the state minister for health in charge of general duties called upon not only Mengo Hospital but all the other hospitals around the country to equip ICUs to avoid reoccurrence of such incidences.
“There are few hospitals with ICUs and with limited facilities. It is something that we have aired out to the ministry of Health,” Opendi said.
The report also shows that there was no postmortem done after the death of these patients because their family members refused to do so.
“Post mortem was not done done in these cases because families rejected it which this limited our investigations,” Okullo said
According to the report there have been some medicines brought into the country without being approved by the National Drug Authority including medical camps staged in different districts in the country without accreditation. Because of this, Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioners Council released guidelines for medical camps. Opendi notes that this is to ensure safety of the patients and other participants in the camp.
“We noted that there have been increased camps held in various districts and some use medicines that are not registered by National Drug Authority so these guidelines will help protect the public,” Opendi added
Section 2(d) and (e) of UMDPC Act, mandates the council to investigate all reported cases of professional misconduct to protect the public.
The camp that was meant to benefit low income earners who could not afford the costly procedure that requires between Shs5m and Shs15m under private arrangements in the country, was organised by Mengo Hospital in collaboration with the US-based Duke University and the Neurosurgical Society of Uganda (NSU).
However, it was reported that 13 of 28 patients operated during the neurosurgical camp, including former Kyadondo South MP Issa Kikungwe, have since passed on.
Neurosurgery is a surgical operation that involves any part of the nervous system including the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerve and the cerebrovascular system usually referred to as brain surgery.