Mengo hospital is on the spot again after Daily Monitor’s Photo journalist, James Bugembe Ssenkubuge, 52, died there under what family has called “negligent and extortionist circumstances”.
The family showing a bill issued to them by Mengo, a Christian based hospital, said they were billed close to Shs.10m and for three days treatment, yet the deceased spent there less than 24 hours. An extra Shs.200.000 for the mortuary was also charged.
Ssenkubuge who had worked for Daily Monitor for nearly twenty years lost consciousness unceremoniously while at a garage in Mulago, last Wednesday where he had been fixing his vehicle.
When he was rushed to Mengo hospital, they asked for an advance payment of Shs900, 000 for tests. Results required a surgery having indicated a burst vein leading to bleeding in the brain. A bill of Shs. 9.9m was issued including Shs.4m of professional.
Before at least Shs.2m was raised, Mengo refused to undertake the surgery and the health of the deceased was deteriorating. Later on Shs.1.9m was sent to a family member’s mobile money account but hospital insisted this must be withdrawn and paid in cash, a process that further led to more delays.
Eight hours later after doctors emerged out of the theatre. They told the family the patient had been moved into the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Four hours later, a doctor informed the now impatient relatives that the patient was half-brain dead, but everything was being done to save him.
By this time, Dr Obiga who was the lead surgeon was nowhere to be seen. The family had by this moment paid up to SHs. 5.7m. On Thursday at 9am, according to family, no one was attending to Ssenkubuge because staff were attending a monthly meeting. The family angrily told off the hospital they were making tactical delays yet the patient seemed to have died hours earlier.
The bill, although paid in full had a couple of unexplained variances including hiking the professional fees of the surgeon from Shs4m to Shs4.6m, and the hospital asking for Shs9.9m ostensibly for three days.
Efforts to talk to Denis Bwanika, the Hospital spokesman failed but in interviews with other media, he distanced the hospital from allegations of extorting and negligence saying “the patients’ health and safety is first for us.”
Ssenkubuge was buried in Busukuma on Saturday.
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