Three doctors arrested over botched operation that led to woman’s death

Details on the controversial death of an expectant mother after a botched operation in Ngarama Hospital-Gatsibo District are starting to emerge.
Minister of Health Richard Sezibera.
Minister of Health Richard Sezibera.

Details on the controversial death of an expectant mother after a botched operation in Ngarama Hospital-Gatsibo District are starting to emerge.

Well placed sources at the hospital indicate that the doctors who operated on her were not qualified to carry out the procedure.

Police sources say the doctors who are currently in their custody are, Ric Kikoli, N’sapu, Yamba Yamba and Anicet Mashauri.

The expectant mother, Didacienne Bankundiye, 32, died on November 24, after two unsuccessful operations at Ngarama hospital.

Bankundiye’s condition worsened after the second operation. According to the sources, the hospital reportedly delayed to transfer her to Kigali University Hospital (CHU/K) where she died hours later.

Though the last unsuccessful operation was done on November 7, the patient was transferred to CHU/K after four days.

The source who declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter said the hospital’s ambulance had broken down. The NewTimes could not by press time independently verify this.

According to our source, the major mistake was the attempt by the said inexperienced doctors to handle a complicated operation with no requisite skills.

“Well, the three doctors are trained but this particular case was beyond them. We wonder why they carried out the operation,” added the source last Friday.

Police sources in Gatsibo said the doctors were arrested last Tuesday and are currently being detained at Nyagatare police station in the Eastern Province as investigations into the matter continue.

 “We have already done our part. We have sent the file to court for possible prosecution of the three doctors for grave criminal negligence,” a police source in Gatsibo said last week.

When contacted last week, the director of Ngarama Hospital, Dr. Benon Rukunda Karekezi also confirmed our source’s information. He said the junior doctors handled a case beyond their ability.

“The first operation was done on November 5 and it was not successful. The second major surgery on November 7 was bad,” Rukunda revealed in an interview last Friday. According to Rukunda, the second operation should have been handled by highly experienced doctors.

“These doctors performed the operation yet they knew very well they could not manage,” the doctor said.

According to the family, during a routine antenatal visit, doctors asked her to stay at the hospital. She had been in the hospital for two months before the fateful day.

The Minister of Health Dr. Richard Sezibera has written to police demanding an immediate investigation into the matter and those found culpable be prosecuted.

“The Ministry in conjunction with the Rwanda Medical Council will work together to make sure the doctors are deregistered,” Dr Sezibera’s letter, dated December, 13 reads in part.

Relatives to the deceased feel completely let down by the hospital and its medical staff who did not react quickly enough despite the warning signs.

According to the deceased relatives, the family raised concerns about Bankundiye’s condition but their concerns were reportedly ignored.

They are angry that the hospital did not transfer the mother after realising they could not handle the case.

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