By Paul Kiwuuwa and Simon Masaba
At 44 years, Patrick Izimba, is a lost man after he lost his penis to a botched male medical circumcision procedure in a private clinic. Izimba is at Mulago Hospital’s Urology Ward 2A, where he has endured pain for the past three weeks.
Speaking with teary eyes, Izimba curses the day he read a sign post at the private clinic that offers free male medical circumcision.
“I underwent an operation at Medik Medical Centre Limited in Kawempe,” he says. “Free things are expensive they have cost me a life. I depend on pain relievers. My penis is falling off and requires me to wear a skirt.”
“Pain killers have become my daily bread because if I do not take them, I cannot sleep,” Izimba narrates. Izimba has a catheter connected to his bladder to allow urine to flow out.
He says Dr. Francis Kakooza, an employee with Medik Medical Centre, carried out the operation under the supervision of Dr. Edward Kunoya, the clinic’s director and proprietor. The clinic is located along Bombo Road, Keti-Falawo zone, Kawempe division.
Start of his woes
On the fateful day, Izimba met Dr. Kunonya who told him the circumcision was free, but he had to pay sh20,000 for the drugs. Izimba paid the money and was asked to bring Jik and a polythene bag to place on the surgical table.
He recalls that before the surgery, Dr. Kakooza administered an injection which was painful. “I objected to the operation, but Kunonya shouted at me: ‘Be a man, don’t fear.’ Meanwhile, Kunonya sprayed something on my nose that threw me into sudden deep sleep,” Izimba recalls.
He woke up three hours later. “My penis was very stiff and I had lost a lot of blood. They bandaged the penis to prevent further bleeding. Kunonya, Kakooza and two unidentified ladies surrounded me,”
“Kunonya transferred me to another room and I was put on a drip. I was weak. They gave me tablets to swallow. I had a sleepless night due to the pain and the penis remained stiff. The following day I reported for dressing in terrible pain, the penis skin became dry and pale,” he says.
On the third day, Izimba’s penis was still stiff; the skin had tuned so dark and began to peel off.
However, Kunonya insisted I dress the wound using warm water mixed with salt.
When it worsened, Kunonya, accompanied by Kakooza, took me to Mulago Hospital where one Dr. George Masaba admitted me under ward 2A, on registration number 2152246. Dr. Kunonya gave me sh5,000 and visited me only once.
Efforts to talk to Dr. Masaba, were futile as he refused to talk. When contacted, Dr. Kunonya said: “I know Izimba as a patient who sought for male medical circumcision in my clinic. However, Dr. Francis Kakooza operated him successfully. We used sterilised equipment to carry out the operation.”
“Izimba developed a complication during the recovery period during the dressing when the skin started peeling off. I referred Izimba immediately to a specialist in Mulago Hospital as any trained personnel do in case of emergency.
But I am not under obligation to pay his medical bills. However, I have visited him once. Probably Izimba did not use the drugs as instructed. Many patients have undergone operation in the clinic, but they heal within one week,” Kunonya said.
A medical worker on routine ward duty at Mulago Hospital who preferred to speak on condition of anonymity described Izimba’s condition as “gangrene.” This means that blood supply to the penis has been cut off, evidenced by the pale skin.
“I suspect they injected certain drugs in the penile vein which blocked the supply of the blood to the penis, rendering the skin dry, causing the rotting,” the medical doctor says. He, however, says there is hope with plastic surgery to reconstruct the penis, to enable him pass urine, but not fulfill his conjugal rights.
Enock Kusasira, the Mulago Hospital spokesperson, says plastic surgery is free of charge in the public ward.
Siraje Bakaleke, the divisional Police commander, Kawempe Police Station, told Sunday Vision that Izimba’s relatives reported the matter to the Police on May 28 under JEF/May28/2013 and investigations are ongoing.
Bakaleke says the Police is still waiting for a medical report from Mulago Hospital.Izimba is married with two wives and seven children. He sells animal feeds in Bwaise, a city suburb.
Izimba’s relatives have also filed a case with the Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioners Council complaining of unprofessional conduct by Dr. Kakooza. The council has taken up the case because the clinic where the incident happened is registered under the medical council.
Dr. Katumba Ssentongo, the registrar of the Medical and Dental Practitioners Council says: “We are waiting for a report from Dr. Kunonya pending investigating circumstances under which the medical operation was done.”
The Government, under the Ministry of Health, has been encouraging men from the age of 18 and above to undergo safe male medical circumcision as one of the measures to prevent the spread of HIV.