A one-year-old baby has dragged St.Francis Hospital Nsambya to the civil division of the High Court in Kampala for failure in their duties to screen and treat her which resulted into blindness.
In the suit, through her parents, Clara Kirabo Nabbaale says sometime in February 2018, her parents Tonny Seremba and Susan Nakawungu went to Nsambya hospital for medical attention since Nakawungu was pregnant and that on February 27, she was born prematurely at 27 weeks.
“Consequently, the first plaintiff was admitted in the defendant’s Intensive Care Unit for two months. At all maternal times during her admission, the first plaintiff (Nabbaale) was under the care of the defendant’s medical personnel,” the court documents read.
The one-year-old baby says that being born prematurely placed her at risk of Retinopathy of Prematurity (RoP), a condition that affects the normal growth of retinal blood vessels and can cause blindness in premature infants.
She says that after 55 days, they were casually discharged from Nsambya hospital and referred to Mengo hospital for eye screening by an ophthalmologist.
“At the point of the discharge, the second and third plaintiff(parents) were not informed that the premature birth had resulted into a preventable sight condition known as RoP which was neither diagnosed nor treated by the defendant’s(Nsambya) medical personnel.”
The court documents indicate that after being diagnosed at Mengo hospital, it was found out that the sight condition was in advanced stages beyond where it could be rectified with corrective treatments like surgery or cryotherapy.
“In utter desperation and in a bid to exhaust all options available to regain the first plaintiff’s sight, the second and third plaintiffs sought a second opinion from ophthalmologists. They consulted Dr.Agarwal’s eye hospital where the plaintiff was again diagnosed with stage 5 RoP and then referred to India for further management.”
The one-year-old baby says in India, specialists told the parents that she should have been screen and treated within a month of incubation as that would have preserved the potentially good vision with which the preterm babies are born.
The one-year-old baby wants court to declare that Nsambya hospital medical personnel acted negligently causing her permanent blindness when they refused or failed to screen and treat her eyes within the first month of her birth.
“There should be a declaration that the defendant (Nsambya hospital) medical personnel owed the first plaintiff (baby) a duty of care which they breached when they refused or failed to screen and treat her eyes within the first month of her birth.”
The baby who was born prematurely now wants Nsambya hospital to pay her special damages to a tune of shs120 million, exemplary and punitive damages.
She also wants court to order the hospital to pay general damages for inconvenience, mental torture and anguish that her parents and herself continue to suffer due to Nsambya hospital’s gross negligence.
The hospital has been given 15 days to file a defence in the matter.