An American missionary has been sued by mothers in Uganda for pretending to be doctor, an act which has allegedly led to the death of hundreds of children, claims the lawsuit.
Renee Bach, the said missionary, allegedly took children from hospitals to "treat" them, even with no medical training. The death toll is still undetermined. The organization, Serving His Children (SHC) in Eastern Uganda, had reportedly revealed that they had treated 3,400 children suffering from severe malnutrition since 2011. Bach was scheduled to appear in court in March but did not show up reported WSET-TV.
Bach, 35, is originally from Virginia but moved to Africa when she was a teenager to work as a missionary. In 2009, she set up SHC clinic in Masese to treat children and babies who were close to death because of malnutrition, reports Daily Mail. In the lawsuit, initially filed by Women’s Probono Initiative (WPI) in January, was done on behalf of two mothers, Gimbo Brenda and Kakai Annet, whose children died after receiving medical treatment at SHC, a ministry that Bach had founded. In a blog post from her website, several of which have been reportedly taken down since the lawsuit mention that she had a "hands-on approach" to treatment without any actual knowledge.
In one of the post, she has reportedly said, "I hooked the baby up to oxygen and got to work….As I took her temperature, started an IV, checked her blood sugar, tested for malaria, and looked at her HB count… I was attempting to diagnose the many problems that could potentially be at hand…After doing a search for blood around Jinja town, we found her type and it was a match! We started the transfusion…"
The mothers have alleged that they were led to believe that Bach was a "medical doctor" and that her home was a "medical facility". She was often seen in doctor garb - a white coat, a stethoscope and often administered medications to children in her care, the WPI revealed in a press release. However, when the kids died, they were informed that Bach had no training at all and that her facility had been closed down since 2015 by the District Health Officer.
The lawsuit alleges violations of human rights including violation of children’s right to access adequate treatment, the right to health of the children, the right to life, the right to be free from discrimination on the basis of race and social economic standing and the right to dignity, freedom from torture, inhuman and degrading treatment. They demand that Serving His Children be shut down in Uganda and compensation be provided to the families.
"It is unacceptable, narcissistic behavior, for anyone, black or white, rich or poor, missionary or angel to pass off as a ‘medical practitioner’ when they are not," Beatrice Kayaga, an officer at WPI said. "By doing so, they mislead unsuspecting vulnerable members of the public. The actions of Renee and SHC have caused so much pain, injustice, a lack of transparency and accountability by the organization Serving His Children. The Judiciary has a role to play in ending this," she said.
The SHC, in a statement published in November, has denied the allegations. In the statement, they note that Bach had basic first aid training, CPR and emergency medical stabilization techniques, including IV placement and "would be asked by the nursing staff to assist in certain situations. When the center was busy, the nurses appreciated the extra hands and Ms. Bach was happy to help." They also say in the statement that Bach never represented herself as a medical professional and was always acting under the supervision of licensed medical personnel.
“My son — Elijah Benjamin would be 2 years old today had he been alive. I delivered him at Jinja Hospital on January 21, 2017," one of the mothers Kakai Rose had said during the time of the lawsuit, "I feel his life was snatched from my arms by the actions of Ms. Renee Bach. I hope the court can give me justice."