Masindi — The authorities at Masindi Hospital were on Tuesday forced to refund money to the family of a patient, who they had referred to Mulago Referral Hospital, but later died at the their premises.
Mr Yayisi Baguma was on Sunday involved in an accident at Kahara Village and was admitted to the hospital for treatment. He was diagnosed with severe open head injury and since his condition could not be handled, he was referred to Mulago hospital.
His relatives were then asked to pay Shs480, 000 to fuel an ambulance to transport him from Masindi to Mulago on Tuesday according to her sister, Ms Doreen Birungi.
“I wondered (why I was asked to pay the money) because they were going to use the hospital ambulance but I had to pay the money so that I can save the life of my brother,” Ms Birungi said.
The family could only gather Shs380,000 and they handed over the money to the hospital driver, Mr Michael Ayesiga, after serious bargaining.
Mr Ayesiga says he was stopped from travelling at night by the Medical Superintendent, Dr Vincent Katusiime, because they had spent the whole day in the field.
Unfortunately, the patient could not make it to the following day.
“I couldn’t travel without clearance from my boss, the hospital superintendent, I was advised by my boss to travel the next day,” Mr Ayesiga added.
In retaliation, angry boda boda riders in Masindi Town led by the Mr Gerald Baguma, the Kigulya Sub-county councillor, on Tuesday evening stormed Masindi Hospital demanding the refund of the Shs380,000 and accused the hospital of delaying his referral to Mulago hospital.
“We need our money back.
Since last night, ( Monday) they failed to take our relative for referral until he passed on so let them give us our money back to look after the widow, who is heavily pregnant,” Mr Baguma said.
On an ordinary trip, it would require one between Shs100,000 to Shs200,000 to fuel a car to transport a person from Masindi to Kampala.
Asked why government is charging for ambulance services for the referrals, Dr Katusiime said: “As Masindi hospital, we do not refer patients to Mulago. We are supposed to refer them to Hoima, the only regional referral hospital in the region but not to Kampala.
As doctors here, we felt that this case should not be handled at Hoima but Kampala and we had offered 20 litres of fuel to top up what the relatives had given.”
Asked why the patient was left to die even after he had paid for an ambulance, Dr Katusiime explained: “We have so many challenges under which we work. The patients and their attendants want to manage themselves and cannot follow our advice.
The relatives by Tuesday morning turned down the referral to Mulago after seeing the patient had become weak and wanted us instead to take the patient to their home village using the fuel already in the ambulance. We refused and instead tried to manage the case at the hospital until he died at 11am, he did not die because of our negligence.”
The situation prompted a meeting at the hospital attended by Dr Katusiime, Masindi District police officer in-charge of operations, relatives of the deceased and Masindi boda boda officials. The hospital management agreed to refund the money to Mr Baguma’s relatives.
This comes at a time when residents of Masindi are demanding for hospital expansion to increase space and more doctors.
The incident, however, highlights some challenges faced in managing public hospitals such as lack of basic drugs, understaffing and poor remuneration, among others.
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Publish date : 2019-02-08 07:38:17