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STRANGE BUT TRUE: Final Medical Report on ‘Kidney Harvesting’ Complainant Shocks Ugandans

Muhamood Kabanda born with one kidney

A final medical report on tests done on a man who claims that a Kampala based hospital illegally harvested one of his kidney during an operation following an accident he was involved in has shocked Ugandans who did not know of a rare but existent case where one can be born with one kidney.

About two weeks ago, Muhamood Kabanda, who works from Owino Market, dragged Old Kampala Hospital to Old Kampala Police Station claiming that the health facility had illegally harvested his left kidney during an operation that followed an accident he had engaged in which damaged his head. Kabanda was concerned when he discovered that he had a cut on his stomach on return from the theatre, and he suspected that his left kidney could have been harvested.

Kabanda went on to conduct several tests which confirmed that he did not have the left kidney. It was against this background that The Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioners Council (UMDPC) examined the reports before coming up with a decision on whether Kabanda’s kidney was harvested or not. UMDPC is a government agency established by an Act of Parliament (UMDPC Act 272) and its mandate includes protecting the public from unsafe practices of medical and dental practitioners. Complaints against health practitioners are lodged her and investigated.

Following the procedures laid down by the UMDPC, the Old Kampala, Hospital was asked to give an explanation: This included giving the identified doctors who operated on the case. The Neurosurgeons who carried out the operation, were also asked to give their response. UMDPC later learnt that Mr. Kabanda had undergone several radiological examinations from several health facilities.

The council secured an explanation letter from Old Kampala Hospital; an explanation letter from the doctor who operated on Mr. Kabanda; the file containing the medical records of Mr. Kabanda Muhmood from Old Kampala Hospital; the Ultrasound scan from Malcom Medical Centre; and The CD of the CT scans from Nsambya Hospital, Mengo Hospital and Kampala Imaging Centre.

In its assessment, UMDPC lined up senior specialists, including radiologists to review all the radiographs; the Surgeons, who included the General Surgeon, Urologist (to examine the case) and a neurosurgeon for guidance.

The Council has now released a summary of findings from the assessments done. In his view, the surgeon noted that findings from the examination on the site of – and size of – the incision had indicated that indeed there was a scar in the anterior abdominal wall that was far from the anatomical location of the kidney. He went on to say that according to the site and size “it would have been very difficult for anybody to harvest a kidney through that site, as one would have to go through several layers of muscles to reach the kidney.”

“On further examination, they [the specialists] found that according the mobility of the lower limbs, it was clear that the internal structures were not tempered with. And that the incision did not go beyond the skin and underlying soft tissue,” added the surgeon in his report.

On his part, the neurosurgeon said that it had been confirmed that it was in order and a routine procedure to secure fat from the anterior abdominal wall to fill in the defect occasioned by the fracture, while the radiologists noted that examinations had indicated that there was only one kidney, the right kidney, a condition that normally occurs in 1:750 persons.

“They also found a big right Kidney. The Right Kidney had two renal arteries supplying it. The main aorta did not have any branch going to the left side. There was no evidence of any cut on the main aorta. They concluded that it was possible for the left kidney to have fused with the right one during formation hence the two renal arteries supplying it,” the radiologists added in their report.

It was against this background that the Council has come up with a conclusion that has shocked Ugandans who did not know that some people are born with just one kidney.

“Based on the observations of the Surgeons and Radiologists, and the examination of the medical records, there was no Kidney on the left side to have been harvested. UMDPC concludes that Mr. Kabanda has ONLY ONE KIDNEY, THAT IS THE RIGHT KIDNEY,” the Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioners Council concluded in its report filed by its Chairman Associate Professor Joel Okullo and Registrar Dr. Katumba Ssentongo.

“UMDPC calls for calm and wants all the allegations to be set to rest and requests Mr. kabanda’s family and friends to support him psychologically. The findings were given to the parties and their lawyers and a full report shall be availed to them in due course.”

When the idea that it was possible that Kabanda could have been born with one kidney came up, some Ugandans expressed suspicion. Opposition leader and former Museveni bush war personal physician Dr Kizza Besigye recently told The Interface that it was possible to have one kidney. “One out of 750 people has one kidney. Mostly men are born with one kidney. Most people with one kidney have it on the right hand side only. Yes, it means close to 60,000 people in Uganda were born with one kidney! They’re mostly MEN! Mostly miss the left kidney. Cause is unknown,” Dr Besigye said. 

Kabanda’s case came amidst claim by a Ugandan family that their daughter working in Saudi Arabia had been detained in hospital to have her kidney harvested. (Read Story Here).

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