A 19-year old Mark Mudoola, vacist is said to have lost his life at the hands of the National mental facility, Butabika. The teenager reportedly arrived at the Luzira-based Butabika National Referral Mental Hospital on the morning of Monday, May 17, to start rehabilitation. with mother Annet Nabwire, and elder sister Ritah Sanyu.
Unfortunately, three days later when Mother Nabwire returned to check on her son, she could not take in the loss. Mudoola had breathed his last in the absence of tha famil and no notification was sent to the concerned parties.
“I believe my son died on Wednesday [May 19] but no one at the hospital called to say so,” Nabwire lamented with grief.
It is stated that trouble started when Mudoola was admitted to the Kirinya Court ward at Butabika hospital. He rejected the ward, citing the patients in there as ‘mad’ yet he believed he was not as mentally sick as they were. The askaris [guards] could have none of his reservations and demanded he changes into the in-patients uniform.
“He [Mudoola] fought off the guards who were forcibly undressing him and in the scuffle, he pushed one of them to the ground,” Nabwire narrates.
“One of the guards, who was watching the scuffle from a distance, did not like it. He jumped in with a baton and struck my son three times on the head.”
The baton alone could have caused a serious head injury given the “brute force” applied, but fate was not on Mudoola’s side. He hit his head on the edge of a metallic seat and went cold.
Sanyu, the late’s sister says she ran to his brother’s rescue when he saw him collapse with blood gushing from his head but she was shielded away by medical officers at the facility. “They said that was the ‘first treatment’ administered to stubborn patients,” she says.
Mother and daughter were then sent back home after being assured that Mudoola would be fine after some treatment. Sanyu says her pleas for a scan to be done to ascertain the extent of the head injury were rejected.
My son was killed and someone should be answering for that,” the grieving mother said. “These people were not professional at all.”
Nabwire suspects, and probably rightly so when the post-mortem report is considered, that Mudoola had lost consciousness after taking the hits from the baton and with the fatal fall, gone into a coma after possibly fracturing his skull.
“We had no chance at all to speak with him as the medics blocked us from getting close to him,” she says. “These are doctors and they surely must have known the severity of the injury, so to have kept him with them instead of rushing him for urgent medical attention at facilities better suited to handle such a case is nothing but murder.”
Nabwire says the hospital’s decision to refuse to keep her abreast with Mudoola’s condition could have been “intentional because these people look like they could have covered up the death of my son by burying him secretly and then claim that he had escaped from the hospital.”
While it is easy to dismiss her suspicions given she is still in grief, in a world that is increasingly twisted by greed and inconsiderate human behaviour, one can bet on as much.
The aggrieved mother argues the hospital was forced to announce the death of Mudoola because it would be difficult to cover up since the mother and sister had both witnessed the scuffle and the fatal injury the deceased had sustained.
A criminal case under file number SD 09/20/05/2021 has been opened at Butabika Police Post. Nabwire says she will fight for her son to get justice and intends to pick up the detailed post-mortem report and use it to pin Butabika for “lack of professionalism” and manslaughter.
Butabika Hospital management came out with a responding statement saying, “The deceased was intoxicated on drugs and extremely violent. He attacked and seriously injured one of our security men. He fell as efforts were made to restrain him so he doesn’t end up killing staff in the ward. He was eventually restrained and given treatment. He died days later in the ward, which was unfortunate.”