King Faisal hospital losses appeal in negligence case

The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal by the hospital and its insurer Sonarwa.

Rwanda’s biggest national referral King Faisal Hospital. The Hospital and its insurer Sonarwa have lost a long judicial battle against a patient who was awarded Rwf50 million ($58,500) in damages for medical negligence. PHOTO | FILE 

IN SUMMARY

  • The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal by the hospital and the insurer, saying it did not have jurisdiction to hear the matter.
  • The decision by the Supreme Court now means that the hospital and its insurer Sonarwa have exhausted all available legal channels.
  • This case started in the intermediate court in 2015 and was appealed in the high court.

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King Faisal hospital and its insurer Sonarwa have lost a long judicial battle against a patient who was awarded Rwf50 million ($58,500) in damages for medical negligence.

The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal by the hospital and the insurer, saying it did not have jurisdiction to hear the matter.

“In both the intermediate Court and High Court, King Faisal Hospital lost the case because the court imputed the negligence to the hospital and according to the law, a case lost twice on the same grounds cannot be appealed against in the Supreme Court,” said Justice Aimé Muyoboke Karimunda.

This case started in the intermediate court in 2015 and was appealed in the high court. However, the high court confirmed the decision of the intermediate court.

Geoffrey Mwine, the victim’s lawyer had raised an objection on the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.

It barred the three-judge bench to go into the merits of the case, despite King Faisal’s insisting that the damages awarded to the victim were unfair to the hospital and its insurer.

It was, thus not possible for the court to look into the arguments presented by both King Faisal and Sonarwa lawyers.

Exhausted available legal channels

The decision by the Supreme Court now means that the hospital and its insurer Sonarwa have exhausted all available legal channels. They therefore have to pay the victim Rwf50 million.

King Faisal will have to pay the victim Rwf30 million ($35,100), while the insurer will pay the remaining Rwf20 million ($23,400). The division in payments is due to an agreement that states Sonarwa does not pay more than Rwf20 million for damages.

The Supreme Court also awarded John Muganda — a gynaecologist who attended to the victim and was later enjoined in this case by King Faisal — Rwf800,000 ($936) in damages. The hospital wanted Dr Muganda to be held accountable for the negligence.

The case is setting a precedent in medical negligence, especially since many similar cases went unreported in the past, either because of ignorance of the law or reluctance by victims

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