KAMPALA: The widow of deceased lawyer Bob Aldridge Kasango Okello, yesterday blamed the Judiciary and the Prisons for her husband’s death.
Ms Nice Bitarabeho Kasango blamed the Judiciary for rejecting the family’s numerous pleas to release her husband on bail to receive the required specialized treatment abroad since he had a unique complication of a hole in the heart.
The widow told the mourners that his heart condition started in 2013 when he started developing breathing complications.
She said upon being diagnosed, he was recommended by the Uganda Heart Institute to be on oxygen for a minimum of eight hours each day if he was to survive longer.
“To that effect, we asked court to release his passport to go for the much needed operation and the judge in her wisdom, said he lied and said, ‘send him to Mulago hospital,” Ms Bitarabeho narrated.
“I fought and struggled and at the same time always going to court to convince them that let somebody listen to his case. We are not here about his actual case but about his bail’, but it was rejected.”
Ms Bitarabeho said Mulago had the expertise to carry out the heart operation.
“I just wanted to correct that, it’s not that the doctors at [Uganda] Heart Institute did not have expertise but the specialised post-intensive care support,” she said.
Ms Bitarabeho also castigated the Prison authorities for ignoring calls to take Kasango for specialised treatment after his condition deteriorated, and its doctors delaying to attend to him on the eve of his death
She said the Prisons medical doctor came to Kasango’s care on Saturday after they had been informed of his ill-health.
Narrating her last moments, Ms Bitarabeho recalled that someone had called her on Saturday morning informing her that her husband was very sick.
She said the caller told her that Kasango was vomiting blood while complaining of severe chest pain.
“I asked whether the doctor had seen him and they said no. Bob was later taken to a clinic at the Upper Prison. The doctor did not come until midday, the doctor was told that he has somebody with a heart condition and he just came at midday; put him on a drip and said the problem was with the lungs,” Ms Bitarabeho recounted.
“I remember calling several doctors, any number that I could call. I pleaded with them that, please Bob needs oxygen. This thing has happened before, so he needs oxygen. My husband sent me a message saying, Nice, I will be fine. They called later after one hour and they told me he had passed on,” she added.
Ms Bitarabeho also clarified that her husband died inside Murchison Bay hospital in Luzira prison, not on the way to Mulago hospital as had been reported in some media.
The widow narrated how Kasango had written a letter to the Commissioner General of Prisons, Dr Johnson Byabashaija, and asked for an assessment of his health.
She said a Prisons doctor was assigned to carry out the assessment, and he only took Kasango’s pressure despite Uganda Heart Institute’s recommendation to put him on oxygen for a minimum of eight hours daily.
Ms Bitarabeho added that despite showing the Prisons management the recommendations, Kasango was never put on oxygen for the last three years he was in detention.