Two of the largest public hospitals in Rwanda are facing off in court in a case in which a woman lost a breast following a wrong cancer diagnosis.
The Gasabo Intermediate Court on Monday said it is seeking professional advice from medical experts before it can determine whether the Rwanda Military Hospital, Kanombe or the King Faisal Hospital in Kigali is guilty and should compensate the woman Rwf305 million.
“The court shall write to the Rwanda Medical and Dental Council to appoint three medical experts to study all the steps involved in treating the woman and advise us which hospital bears the responsibility of the removal of the breast,” the court said on Monday this past week.
The 41-year-old woman lodged a case against King Faisal Hospital in Kigali for the removal of her breast in 2017 following a cancer diagnosis the institution made, but which was later discovered to be incorrect.
She is seeking Rwf305 million in compensation.
According to court documents, King Faisal Hospital carried out the test that concluded the woman had breast cancer. Rwanda Military Hospital, Kanombe on the other hand carried out the surgery, seven months after the examination at King Faisal Hospital.
King Faisal Hospital argued that while it gave a mistaken diagnosis, it never recommended breast removal.
“There was no need for surgery and we submitted this to this court with experts reports,” said Isaac Bizumuremyi, the lawyer representing King Faisal Hospital.
But Hilary Gumisiriza who is representing Rwanda Military Hospital told the court to call in medical experts to explain who, according to professional practices, bears the responsibility of the woman losing a breast.
“Medical practitioners should come in and explain what medications are recommended at what level of breast cancer so that the court can determine if Rwanda Military was right or wrong in removing the woman’s breast,” said Mr Gumisiriza.
“They should also explain to the court whether it is recommended under medical practice for a doctor to re-examine a patient who already has a medical report.”
In August 2017, the resident of Kayonza District in Eastern Province was admitted to the King Faisal Hospital seeking diagnosis for pain in her breast.
The medical report signed by Lynette Kyokunda confirmed the “presence of grade II cancer cells” in the woman’s breast.
The mother of three had no money for a mastectomy at the leading referral public hospital and sought a transfer to Rwanda Military Hospital where it is cheaper.In March 2018, Rwanda Military Hospital doctors removed the breast mass without diagnosing her for the second time, trusting the report from King Faisal Hospital. However, further medical tests on the breast tissue after surgery found no cancer cells.
Doctors from both hospitals made a joint diagnosis which also concluded that “no malignancy was found” and that the examination at King Faisal Hospital was a “mistaken biopsy with diagnosis.”
Gasabo Court adjourned the hearing to January 16, 2020 when medical experts will give their verdict.