High Court in Kampala has ruled on the case filed by the Center for Health, Human Rights, and Development (CEHURD) that the practice of detaining patients who have failed to pay their medical bills is illegal.
In the case filed by CEHURD and Ssentong Robert, the father of Mugerwa Raymond sued Jaro Hospital in Kyaliwajjala for illegally detaining one of their patients after his operation on the claims that he had failed to pay his treatment bills.
However, today the High Court in Kampala judge Douglas Singiza ruled that hospitals are not legal detention centers and therefore they are not allowed to retain anybody regardless of the circumstances.
“Jaro hospital must be prepared to accept that Ssentongo’s claim must succeed, given the prayers he seeks and the constitutional command on liberty as a right…the constitutional right to liberty in Uganda can only be limited under the limited but unequivocal exceptions stated above. The framework on liberty together with the imperative international human rights framework on individual freedoms point to the inclination that hospitals should never detain patients who fail to clear their medical bills at all,” Singiza said in his ruling.
He added on and said that this is largely because private hospitals have to pay for other remedies availed to them at a cost that they have to recover but detaining patients is not one of the legitimate ways of debt recovery in Uganda.
However, the judge declined to grant the declaration that the detention amounted to cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment and that was a violation of Mugerwa’s right to health.
“I hold this view because I find no evidence that Jaro hospital inflicted any psychological or physical harm on Mr. Mugerwa. On the contrary, Jaro hospital’s lifesaving operation averted what could have turned out to be an undesirable medical consequence,” said Judge Singiza.
According to the Court documents Mugerwa was detained by Jaro hospital along Kyaliwajala road where he was admitted for treatment on 23rd July 2022 after he was involved in an accident and sustained serious injuries.
Since the patient’s condition was critical there was no time for referring him to a public hospital because he needed an operation that was performed successfully at a cost of 4.4m Ugandan shillings.
However, on 6th August 2022, the father only managed to raise only Ugx 1.5m but the hospital management insisted on full payment leading to the detention of Mugerwa until full payment is made.
One Dead As Jaguar Bus Crashes 8 Cars In Ntungamo District
Queen Karma, Sheebah drops visuals for her massive banger, ‘Nkujjukira’
Burundi Declares Polio Outbreak Emergency