A senior doctor has been suspended for his role in the disappearance of a newly-delivered boy-child at the National Referral Hospital Mulago in a case dating back seven years ago.
Dr Asinja Kapuru’s suspension enforces long-held suspicions about how some health workers collude in the rampant though criminal practice of trafficking in boy-children.
Yesterday, the Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioners Council also barred him from any form of medical practice in Uganda for two years for doctoring medical records that aided the disappearance of the baby.
Currently working as the Medical Officer at Kagando Hospital in Kasese, Dr Kapuru was the Senior House Officer at Mulago at the time of the baby’s disappearance.
In their ruling, the Council chairperson, Prof Joel Okullo, said the doctor was guilty of gross professional misconduct after he admitted altering medical records to show that the mother, Ms Sauda Nabakiibi, had delivered a baby girl.
“It is clear that the disappearance of the baby was a well-planned evil act by a group of medical personnel at Mulago hospital,” Prof Okullo said.
“It is a manifestation of irresponsibility for a professional doctor to record information based on hearsay rather than his actual findings. When a practitioner handles a patient, he or she assumes full responsibility,” he added, noting that it was disgraceful for Dr Kapuru to claim that he made a second theatre report because he was under pressure from a nurse.
Original records show that Ms Nabakiibi was on July 13, 2006, at about 11am, taken to the theatre where she delivered a boy by caesarean section. The baby and two others were received, registered and taken to the ward office by an unidentified nurse.
When the mother recovered from anaesthesia and asked to see her baby, she was told that she had delivered a boy but that the child was in the special care unit because he had developed complications.
However, Ms Nabakiibi told the council, when she went to the special care unit, the nurses there said they had not received a baby under the name of Sauda Nabakiibi. Confused, she returned to the first nurse who had said her child was in the special care unit only to be told this time that the baby died at birth.
The next day, July 14, 2006, Ms Nabakiibi asked that the body of her baby be released for burial. The nurse on duty advised her to pick it from the labour ward. At the labour ward, she was told that it was in the mortuary. However, at the mortuary, the administrators said they had not received a body in her names.
Ms Nabakiibi together with her Husband, Mr Farouk Bukenya, dthen took their search back to the ward where they found a body of a baby wrapped in sheeting labelled Sauda Nabakiibi. At this point, they were told to pick it from the mortuary. But the body handed to them was of a girl. Ms Nabakiibi is reported to have asked the doctor to explain why she had been told that she delivered a baby boy, her file showed that her baby was a boy but the body she had been given was of a girl. The doctor ignored her.
The couple then reported the case to police and later filed a complaint with the medical council.
Prof Okullo said yesterday that a DNA report from the police and the government analytical laboratory where samples taken from the disputed baby’s corpse were processed showed that the baby was not theirs.
During the hearing, Dr Kapuru told the council that he had, in fact, delivered a baby boy. But he also revealed that he filled in two reports; one showing that the baby was a girl while another a boy. He said this was done on the “orders” of the Senior Nursing Officer at the time, who is said to have insisted that the baby was a girl.