Court Orders DNA Test for Baby Detained Over Medical Bill Dispute

Medical Bill Mayhem: Court Intervenes as Hospital Holds Baby Hostage
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The High Court in Kampala has taken a stern stance on a baffling case involving a baby who was allegedly held captive by a hospital due to unpaid medical expenses. The dramatic saga revolves around a steep Shs4 million bill incurred for the child’s delivery, which the parents reportedly failed to settle.

The parents, represented by their attorney Geoffrey Turyamusiima, expressed uncertainty about the identity of the baby handed back to them after its purported detention at the Roswell Women and Children’s Hospital. This baby, born around three months ago, has become the center of a courtroom battle, raising suspicions about its true origin.

Justice Esta Nambayo, presiding over the case, decided that the only way to unravel this bizarre situation was through a DNA test. The court ordered that the baby, its alleged mother (Saloome Aturinde), and supposed father (Bridgers Alinda Mugenyi) undergo DNA testing at the Government Analytical Laboratory in Wandegeya (GAL). Notably, the hospital is expected to bear the costs of the procedure.

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Earlier on August 30, 2023, the court had issued an explicit directive for the Loving Hearts Babies Home, where the infant was being held, and the Roswell Women and Children’s Hospital, to present the baby in court alongside its sustenance provisions later that day.

As the courtroom proceedings unfolded, Turyamusiima firmly advocated for the DNA test to ensure justice was served, putting the onus of expenses on the hospital responsible for the baby’s prolonged separation from its mother. However, Mukiibi Semakula, the hospital’s legal representative, countered by proposing a cost-sharing arrangement between the hospital and the couple.

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Semakula’s arguments were swiftly rejected by Justice Nambayo, who considered them premature and out of place. She sternly reminded the courtroom of the sensitive nature of the situation, emphasizing the importance of breastfeeding for infants. Nambayo criticized the hospital for detaining the baby prematurely and questioned whether the child in question was indeed the biological offspring of the couple.

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Meanwhile, the Loving Hearts Babies Home was pressed to clarify the puzzling circumstances surrounding the baby’s placement in their custody, given that both parents were still alive. Gerald Sande, a social worker at the children’s home, explained that Roswell Hospital had reported an abandonment case to the Central Police Station (CPS), which ultimately led to the involvement of the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) probation officer.

In the lawsuit submitted to the High Court Civil Division in Kampala, the parents demanded a declaration that the hospital’s actions amounted to inhumane and degrading treatment. They stressed that denying the mother access to breastfeed or provide breast milk to the baby was a violation of their rights and posed health risks to the child. The court documents also argued against the hospital’s entitlement to payment for the time the baby spent under its alleged unlawful detention.

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Justice Nambayo adjourned the case to September 5, adding another layer of suspense to this already gripping legal showdown.


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