Almost everyone aboard the taxi in November 2008 died, including the mother of an 11-month-old baby.Today little Grace is a happy four-year-old, thanks to two good samaritans, Dr. Ali Kaggwa and Joyce Kamugabe.
Almost everyone aboard the taxi in November 2008 died, including the mother of an 11-month-old baby.Today little Grace is a happy four-year-old, thanks to two good samaritans, Dr. Ali Kaggwa and Joyce Kamugabe. Gladys Kalibbala writes
It was around 2:00pm when I was attending to a patient, and a woman rushed into the health centre with a baby who was bleeding profusely.
She explained that there was an accident, which had left many dead on the road from Iganga to Tororo.
She explained how she had seen the baby's mother fallingto the ground dead and how thugs had taken off with her bag. But all these were not relevant to me at that time.
The baby had sustained multiple fractures and she badly needed an operation and a blood transfusion. The theatre at Buseesa is not functional, so the other option was Iganga Hospital about 11km away.
The baby was about 11 months and her fontanel (soft part of the baby's scalp) had not closed yet. There was a very deep wound gushing out blood at the spot. As the Police patrol vehicle pulled up in our compound and started sorting out the dead and those still breathing, I secured the centre's ambulance and drove very fast to Iganga hospital.
While heading towards the theatre where I had worked on a number of occasions, I asked the driver to go back to the centre to pick the other survivors. Because of the damaged fontanel, we suspended the operation after consultation with other doctors, sensing it would put the baby's life at risk.
Unfortunately, all the passengers had died except the baby, and a man who had a severe head injury and was referred to Jinja Hospital. Four bodies, three men and a young woman in her 20s suspected to be the mother of the baby remained unclaimed and were buried in a mass grave at Iganga Hospital.
My work schedule changed as I had to check on the baby every morning and night before settling to do my duties at Buseesa. After three weeks of caring for the deep wound on the baby's head and removing all the fragments of glass and stones, the wound was oozing pus. The hospital management put an announcement on all the local radio stations around the eastern region, but nobody claimed the baby. We named her Grace. I still intend to give her care as long as I live.
Kamugabe's mothering heart
I would say I have a passion for children. I currently care for three who were abandoned here (Iganga hospital). After the news of the terrible accident, we gathered around to see the dead being taken to the mortuary and the man with head injuries rushed to Jinja hospital.
It was later in the night that I learnt that there was a baby in critical condition, whose mother was suspected to be among the dead. The nurses on duty that night were responsible for giving her care, but I thought they would be overwhelmed with other patients.
The following day I asked the relevant authorities if I could take the baby to my home and bring her back first thing in the morning. They granted my request. I was then asked to feed her with milk and send the bill to the hospital as they did not have anyone to care for her.
When the bill which included milk, clothes and diapers reached sh300,000, the hospital management said it was too much money and suggested the baby be taken to a babies' home. I refused and withdrew my bill as I felt so much attached to the baby.
Dr. Kaggwa, who did not stop checking on Grace, promised to help me with the girl's care as he was also attached to her. She has now started going to school.
I turn to him for the girl's needs. We still wonder whether one day we will find her relatives, but in the meantime she is our daughter and we love her so much.
I proposed the name Grace because it was God's grace to spare her.
What the doctors say...
By Emmanuel Buuf
Fontanelles are sometimes called soft spots because of their feel that is relative to the skull. There are four fontanelles; one near the back of the head which is the posterior fontanelle, the largest is diamond shaped anterior fontanelle that may be seen pulsating.
The other small ones are located in the sides of the head near the ears. The posterior fontanelle normally closes between two to three months of age while the anterior by two years.
According to Joseph Bakulu a medical doctor affiliated to Bai health and medical centre, fontanelle injury is not common, however, head trauma arising from birth may cause a child’s head to swell and this is due to blood clot collection beneath the skull.
This may sometimes be serious and lead to severe anemia, yellow coloration of the eyes and reduced blood pressure.
Some of the myths about fontanelle include pulsation. Some mothers get so concerned when they see the fontanelle pulsating.
This is normal and is due to the pulses from the blood vessels in the brain and layers covering the brain. Though the fontanelles feel soft, the covering membrane is tough and is very hard to injure or penetrate. There are a few cases of penetrating fontanelle injuries in babies and these in most cases are intentional. Not even the frequent falls that babies get may result into a significant brain injury.
Elis Mutabazi a medical officer at Alive medical services says in cases of serious injury, treatment that is given is mainly that of head injuries. “However, it is only a doctor, who can tell the severity of the injury and recommend treatment,” says mutabazi.
Grace''s second chance at life