Police in Karongi District are investigating the circumstances under which a mother at Kirinda Hospital in Karongi, died immediately after having a stillbirth.
As part of the investigations, three medical personnel at the hospital have been arrested as police and prosecution ascertain whether the mother, who was in labour, did not die out of negligence by the hospital stuff.
The suspects, (names withheld) include two nurses and head of the health centre were arrested last week and are being held at Gashari Police station, according to police.
The incident occurred last Thursday and the victim was survived by a husband and one child.
CIP Theobald Kanamugire, the western regional police spokesperson confirmed the arrest, saying all the suspects are accused of negligence and failure to assist a patient potentially in danger, which resulted in her death.
The head of the health centre is however separately accused of attempting to bribe police officers who were carrying out investigations into the matter at the scene.
“The third suspect (head of health centre) was called by police to facilitate investigations and attempted to bribe the officers so that they stop the investigations into the incident,” said Kanamugire.
He said further investigations were ongoing to find out whether the neglect was intentional, which could translate into a criminal case.
Julie Kimonyo, the registrar of National Council of Nurses and Midwives, says the council often receives similar complaints of negligence, which she said the council probes to ensure professional standards are upheld.
“For us, the process is that we receive a complaint into the conduct of our people and conduct investigations and come up with a report having the necessary recommendations,” she said.
While the number of health practitioners such as nurses, midwives and doctors in general is smaller compared to the number of patients, Kimonyo said she could not rule out whether the incident was due to lack of time to take care of the victim or to negligence adding that investigations would establish the real cause.
“We look at different issues and in that particular case we shall also do so, we cannot conclude whether it was due to negligence or some other reasons,” she added
If found guilty, the suspects shall be liable to a term of imprisonment of two to five years and a fine of Rwf100,000 to Rwf1 million according to article 540 of the Penal code.
They also risk losing their license to practice on conviction.