20 June 2018

Uganda: Doctors Stuck As MP Nambooze's Condition Worsens

Kampala — Specialists at Kiruddu Hospital are at a loss on how to proceed with the treatment of Mukono Municipality MP Betty Nambooze after they failed to locate her veins, making it impossible for them to administer drugs to relieve her back pain.

Ms Nambooze was last Friday scheduled to travel back to India for review following a successful spine operation in November last year at Manipal Hospital where metals were inserted in her back following the September 27 parliamentary fracas.

She was arrested last Wednesday to answer questions in connection with the murder of Arua Municipality MP Ibrahim Abiriga. She was released that day on police bond but re-arrested before the expiry of her bond.

One of the senior nurses handling the MP said they have been trying all possible ways since Monday to find veins where to administer pain killer drugs in vain.


"Her veins are very small. We can only keep praying that we succeed soon... otherwise, we are still failing," said the nurse, who preferred anonymity because she is not authorised to speak about the matter.

Despite her condition, however, there is still heavy deployment of non-uniformed security personnel at the entrance of the MP's private room, apparently to prevent her exit since she is still under police detention.

Ms Nambooze said the doctors told her the veins collapsed due to low blood pressure coupled with back and chest pain.

"My case is surgical and cannot be managed in Mulago," Nambooze, who was lying on her back, told this newspaper.

"Even if the doctors succeed [to trace the veins], what they are doing is maintenance... giving pain killers until I am cleared to go back to India for further treatment... this cell has just substituted the one at Naggalama. The only difference is that it has given me access to my friends," Ms Nambooze said.

The MP says her earlier injuries were also worsened when an ambulance carrying her from Naggalama Police Station was knocked in what she called an intended collision and she fell.

"Doctors are not sure about the alignment of the canal bones yet the MRI machine here cannot handle my case. I have screws in my back and the machine, which can work on me is in India and may be Nairobi," Ms Nambooze said.

When contacted, Dr Byarugaba Baterana, the executive director of Mulago Hospital under whose jurisdiction Kiruddu falls, insisted that there are senior specialists at the hospital to handle her case and that there was no need of referral.

However, a letter seen by Daily Monitor authored by Dr Waiswa Gonzaga, an orthopaedic surgeon at Mulago, refers Ms Nambooze back to India for another review due to complaints of severe low back pain that had progressively increased for weeks.

"She is overdue for review as per the communication of the operating surgeon. This is duly to refer her back to Dr Vidyadhara. S. a consultant Spinal Surgeon at Manipal Spine Care Center India," the letter reads in part.

Police on Saturday took the MP to Kiruddu Hospital in Makindye Division after her health condition deteriorated while at Naggalama Police Station where she had been detained.


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