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Mastectomy case: court awards over Rwf100 million to negligence victim

A woman whose breast was removed for breast cancer she did not have, has been awarded over Rw100 million ($100,000) in compensations at Gasabo Intermediate Court in a case she sought Rwf305 million ($300,000).

The court on Friday 9 April 2021 ruled that King Faisal Hospital and Kanombe Military Hospital would share the compensations to the woman who was diagnosed at the former and had a mastectomy at the latter.

King Faisal Hospital was ordered to pay Rwf42.5 million: “Rwf40 million in compensation, Rwf 500,000 in case procedure costs and Rwf2 million for lawyer’s fees”

Rwanda Military Hospital was ordered to pay Rwf62.5 million: “Rwf62 million in compensation, Rwf 500,000 in case procedure costs and Rwf2 million in lawyer’s fees”

The court concluded that the two hospitals would “collaborate to pay court fees of Rwf20000”.

The case which has been on the court docket for almost two years started in August 2017 when the woman resident of Kayonza District in Eastern Province was admitted at King Faisal Hospital for a medical examination of her aching breast.

The medical report signed by an anatomic Dr. Lynette Kyokunda at King Faisal Hospital confirmed the “presence of grade II cancer cells” in the woman’s breast.

The then 41-year-old mother had no money to pay for a mastectomy at the leading referral public hospital and so sought another transfer to Rwanda Military Hospital where the breast removal surgery was cheaper.

Without diagnosing her for the second time and trusting the report from King Faisal Hospital, Rwanda Military Hospital removed the woman’s breast mass in March 2018.

There are regulations relating to human tissue which allow medics to keep them for further medical tests and in this case, the tests of the removed breast mass on 12 March 2018 found no cancer.

The shock attracted doctors from both hospitals to perform a joint diagnosis which also concluded that “no malignancy was found” and that the initial examination by Dr. Kyokunda was a “mistaken biopsy with the diagnosis”

In June 2019, the woman dragged King Faisal Hospital to court, seeking compensation of Rwf305 million.

During court sessions, King Faisal implicated Rwanda Military Hospital for that the former never recommended mastectomy which also they would perform after another test to confirm the presence of cancer.

When Rwanda Military Hospital was summoned, they claimed King Faisal Hospital's medical report was enough and that it put the cancer level at grade II which could be treated by breast removal.

The court on Friday found both hospitals liable for medical negligence.

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