The Gasabo Intermediate Court in Kigali has ordered for the reopening of a case against King Faisal Hospital involving misdiagnosis that led to unnecessary surgery.
The case could worsen the embattled hospital’s woes. In the court session on Monday last week, a three-judge panel ruled that the trial-in-substance will reopen on September 19, thus giving King Faisal Hospital time to prepare its defense after they refused to send their lawyers to the hearings.
The judges said their decision was based on a request they received from King Faisal Hospital to suspend the ruling, in order to enable their lawyers to appear in court for the first time since the trial began in June.
This comes at a time when the national referral hospital is going through a management crisis after the government canceled its contract with Angolan firm Oshen Healthcare, which had been awarded rights to manage the hospital for five years.
In the open trial, a 43-year-old woman seeks compensation of up to Rwf305 million from the national referral for wrongly diagnosing her with cancer and performing a mastectomy on her right breast.
She decided to sue the hospital after further tests from Kanombe Military Hospital showed she did not have cancer and that the mastectomy she got at King Faisal Hospital was unnecessary.
The court was supposed to deliver the verdict on Monday, July 29, after two court sessions in which King Faisal Hospital never attended but instead ruled for a reopening of the case on September 19, 2019.
According to the court, King Faisal Hospital’s lawyer Isaac Habumuremyi told the court that he was not aware of the case proceedings, but only came to learn about it “from a story published in Rwanda Today.”
“Lawyer Isaac Habumuremyi requested a rehearing of the case because they only became aware of it on July 14 through the newspaper,” the court said.
The court did not mention the reasons why King Faisal Hospital did not answer the court summons but stressed that the case is substantial and worth reopening.
“Due to the substance of the case and the fact that the defendant is not to blame for the failure to attend previous hearings, the case will be reopened for both parties to be able to submit their arguments,” the court ruled.
In 2017, the patient was admitted at King Faisal Hospital from Gahini Hospital in her home district Kayonza in Eastern Province after months of suffering from aches.
According to the medical report signed by Lynette Kyokunda on August 2, 2017, at King Faisal Hospital, the patient was found with cancer cells of “grade II” which required surgery.
The patient could not afford surgery at the leading referral public hospital in the country and went back to Gahini to attain another transfer this time to Kanombe Military Hospital, which is cheaper.
The patient had tried to resolve the issue amicably by seeking compensation from King Faisal Hospital since
December 2018, but the hospital did not respond until she filed the case in court.