Roswell Women and Children Hospital has denied allegations that it withheld a newborn baby from its mother due to failure to pay a Shs.4 million delivery bills.
Alinda B. Mugenyi and Aturinde Salome claimed that upon failure to pay the hefty bill, the hospital detained their baby and that the mother was denied access to breastfeeding her child.
The couple also accused the hospital of threatening to sell the baby to Sanyu Babies Home.
The High Court’s Civil Division yesterday, Wednesday, August 29 ordered for a DNA test to be carried out on the baby after the parents suspected that the baby who was brought to court was not their own.
The Hospital revealed instead that Aturinde and her husband Mugyenyi fled from the hospital when they were presented with the bill, and never came back.
The hospital explained that Aturinde was admitted on May 8, 2023, as a cash patient and that both parents signed a medical consent.
Their baby, the hospital says, was born premature and had to be admitted to the Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), while the mother was discharged on May 11.
“During this time, the mother had regular access to breastfeed her baby as is customary in such situations,” the hospital said in the statement.
“However, when the baby was to be discharged on May 15, 2023, Ms. Aturinde was presented with medical bills and she left the Hospital indicating that she was going to return to clear the medical bills.”
“Unfortunately, both Ms. Aturinde and Mr. Mugenyi did not come back to the Hospital despite various attempts to contact them.”
The Hospital says it was thankfully able to trace the baby’s grandparents, who had been informed by the parents that the baby had in fact passed away and been buried.
“The Hospital continued to look after the baby and when all attempts at contacting the parents proved futile, we reported a case of child desertion at the Central Police Station Kampala, on June 7, 2023.”
The Police reportedly also failed to get in touch with the parents and the baby was moved from the Child and Family Protection Unit to Loving Hearts Baby’s Home on June 16, 2023.
“The allegation that the Hospital detained the baby is false. It deeply saddens us that the media has run this narrative without seeking an official comment from ourselves. Our core mission is to provide loving, professional care, even in the most challenging of circumstances.”
The parents, while addressing the press at the court, said they had not failed to pay the bill and that they had in fact cleared the initial Shs.5.3million and remained with the balance of Shs.4.3Million.
They said they made commitments to clear the remaining amount but that the hospital took the decision to detain the baby.