In the Case of Kabiito Telesphorus V Attorney General, Dr. Kwikiriza Nicholas and the Medical Superintendent Fortportal Referral Hospital CS No. 26 0f 2019;
The Plaintiff sued the Defendants; a doctor and hospital for negligence that led to the death of his wife Katusabe Elizabeth who passed away after giving birth in Fort Portal referral hospital due to over bleeding. The Plaintiff founded his action in negligence on lack of proper medical attention towards the deceased who was in labor, failure by the Defendant’s workers to provide lifesaving blood, sill and equipment, leaving the deceased to bleed without rescue which resulted into her death, sheer and outright lack of care and indifference towards patients, poor health care and standards in the 1st Defendant’s hospital, lack and absence of drugs and facilities. However, the Defendants on the other hand averred that the deceased had at all times attended antenatal checkups carried out by Dr. Arthur Ssebuko who advised her not to go into labour and instead planned a caesarean delivery within two weeks before the delivery since the unborn baby was too big. However, she did not attend the said appointment. By the time the deceased reported to Hospital, she was already in labour. The Defendants did all they could to salvage the situation but could only save the baby’s life. That it was therefore the deceased who was negligent in failure to adhere to the strict guidelines of a fragile situation. The court disregarded the argument of contributory negligence since it was not particularly pleaded in the pleadings.
The court went on to discuss the negligence which was defined as the act of doing something or an omission by a reasonable man, guided upon considerations which regulate the conduct of human affairs. That in case of negligence there should be a duty of care owed, a breach of that duty and damage suffered by the person to whom the duty was owed. The standard of care in medical negligence differs from that of ordinary cases of negligence. It is pertinent to note that a charge of professional negligence against a medical practitioner is a grave and serious matter. It stands on a different footing to a charge of negligence against the driver of a motor car. The consequences are far more serious. It affects his professional status and reputation. The test is the standard of the ordinary skilled man exercising and professing to have that special skill and the true test of establishing negligence and treatment on the part of the doctor is whether he has been proved to have been guilty of such failure as no doctor of ordinary skill would be guilty of it acting within ordinary care or whether it is a case of misadventure or medical negligence.
The deceased was taken to hospital in labor at 3:00pm when she was still alive and not bleeding. The deceased was operated, and baby successfully removed. The doctor, however, did not follow up to know whether the post theatre care and treatment was administered onto the deceased mother, whether their blood was transfused as advised. Therefore, the doctor failed to exercise such care and skill reasonably expected of a prudent and careful doctor of his status especially he should have considered the deceased’s situation as an emergency. Court found that the doctor fell short of the professional standards as obstetrics and gynecologists and were negligent, thereby making the 1st Defendant vicariously liable.