Mother accuses CHUK of risking daughter’s life

Jessica Ishimwe, 11, is suffering from a deadly heart disease. The young girl is bedridden at Kigali Central Teaching Hospital (CHUK), hoping for a miracle after doctors there failed to ascertain her exact illness or the type of medication she needs to rescue her life.
Jessica Ishimwe breathing through an oxygen mask at CHUK (Photo: Igihe.com)
Jessica Ishimwe breathing through an oxygen mask at CHUK (Photo: Igihe.com)

Jessica Ishimwe, 11, is suffering from a deadly heart disease. The young girl is bedridden at Kigali Central Teaching Hospital (CHUK), hoping for a miracle after doctors there failed to ascertain her exact illness or the type of medication she needs to rescue her life.

Bedridden at the Nyarugenge-based hospital since May 1, Ishimwe’s condition has gone from bad to worse after several medications could not improve her health.

And now sources say the hospital does not know whether they should keep treating her or send her abroad for better treatment.

According to Ishimwe’s mother, Bernadette Murekatete, the hospital’s administration is to blame for neglecting her daughter, and yet it has failed to admit its lack of capacity to treat her.

“Currently I don’t know if my child will live or die. The administration is silent on whether she needs to be flown outside the country for treatment so that I can start soliciting for money from good Samaritans early enough,” said the depressed Murekatete.

Murekatete, a widow with Ishimwe being her only child, was forced to abandon her small business to take care of her ailing daughter.

“When she was six years old, I thought she had a bone disease, but I was referred to CHUK where it was confirmed that it was a heart problem. She started getting treatment and going to school like other children but her condition deteriorated again,” she narrated.

The Head of the Paediatric Unit at CHUK, Dr Narcisse Muganga, declined to give a detailed analysis of the girl’s condition, but refuted suggestions that CHUK lacks the capacity to treat her.

“Those reports are false. We are in constant contact with several foreign hospitals to find out the cost of her illness as well as other important information so that we help her accordingly,” Muganga said.

But according to reliable sources, Ishimwe is suffering from Dextrocardia, a defect in which the heart is situated on the right hand side of the body.

“She is also suffering from Kartagener syndrome, a defect of the respiratory tract, which causes her pneumonia and breathing problems. She cannot be off oxygen for more than fifteen minutes,” Gahenda said.

However, a senior official at CHUK, who did not want to be named, admitted that due to her deteriorating health, CHUK may not be in position to provide Ishimwe with the medication that she needs.

“We have the capacity to treat pneumonia, but we are not equipped enough to treat complications. The earlier we realize that the better for Ishimwe,” the official said.

Although Ishimwe’s mother doesn’t know how much she needs for her child’s treatment, she has opened up three bank accounts, where good Samaritans can deposit money to save the life of her ailing daughter. She has also been linked with a few hospitals abroad where her daughter can be flown for treatment.

The bank accounts are: 101-123905-01-45 (Ecobank), 101-123905-02-46 (Ecobank) and 4400398455 (KCB). Her telephone number is (+250) 0783804728.

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