A family of a patient who died of Coronavirus has threatened to sue Paramount Hospital Kampala for detaining the body of Tereza Namugenyi who succumbed to Covid-19 while admitted at the hospital.
According to a letter of intension to sue dated July,1,2021 the family members led by the deceased’s son Tofa Tamale and daughter Regina Namata through their lawyers of Luzige, Lubega , Kavuma and Co Advocates say their mother was admitted at the hospital but died when her oxygen was discontinued by the hospital in favour of another patient.
“After a period of time, your hospital discontinued her from oxygen in favour of an Asian client who according to you was more critically ill than our client’s mother. This grossly amounted to professional negligence and abdication of the hypocritical oath,” the lawyers say.
According to the family, after three days of being off oxygen, their mother died but the hospital demanded shs31 million to be paid before their body is released.
“… you demanded shs31 million to be paid by our clients before releasing the body of our client’s mother; which amount cannot be paid by our indigent clients or relatives of the deceased and you still hold the body to date.”
The family says that the hospital is using the body of the deceased mother as security for getting the shs31 million demanded.
“Your concern is on the debt for medical services solicited for by relatives who are still alive and not the deceased and there are plethora of legal ways for binding such relatives to pay the debt owed. The dead body ought not to be part of that equation as there is no property in a dead body and it cannot be held as security for payment of a debt.”
The family of the deceased Covid patient says they were astonished to be informed by the hospital that the body has now disappeared from the mortuary.
These say the development is a further confirmation of negligence by the hospital.
“We, therefore, demand that you release the body of our client’s mother to us immediately. Failure of which, we are going to file a case against you in the civil division of the High Court to recover the same at your own peril, cost and embarrassment.”
The family has given the hospital three days to file a response in the matter.
Hospital speaks out
When contacted for a comment, Paramount Hospital Kampala in a statement confirmed receiving Tereza Namugenyi but later passed on.
They said the deceased was brought to the hospital after being referred from St.Mary’s Health centre.
“The deceased was admitted as a referral from St Mary’s Health Center, for further management for stroke-related complications revealed by CT scan findings for the last 30 days over which the patient accumulated an ICU bill of shs30 million,” the hospital said in the said.
The hospital however dismissed claims that the deceased had been diagnosed with Covid related complications as was reported by the family.
They insisted that the family has always been updated on the accumulation of the bill and that they were not caught unaware.
“Following the death of the patient, the family noted that they couldn’t afford the bill and the hospital management to unconditionally release the body to the family for burial contrary to media reports.”