A Uganda nurse has been accused for deliberately spreading HIV and has been labeled ‘the killer nurse’. Allegedly, the HIV infected nurse injected her blood into a two year old patient.
Rosemary Namubiru, 64 years old, has been sent to jail on attempted murder charges and has denied bail. During her trial she has begged for sympathy claiming the injection was an accident. The charge has been revised as criminal negligence.
Reportedly, the nurse accidentally pricked herself with the same needle that she planned to use on the distraught child. According to the AIDS-Free World, Namubiru bandaged her finger and used the same needle she pricked herself with on the child.
When test showed that the woman was HIV positive, the mother of the child became alarmed that the nurse was a danger to her child and other patients. Following the positive test results, the nurse was arrested and prosecutors argued that she didn’t deserve bail because she was a danger to the public.
If Namubiru is convicted, she will face seven years in jail. She would be the first Ugandan medical worker sentenced under the colonial-era law against negligent acts ‘likely to lead the spread of an infectious disease’. According to lawyers, the child will be tested again for HIV in a few days and has received post-exposure treatment.
The trial could set off quite an uproar in Uganda and could have serious ripples if Namubiru is convicted. The AIDS-Free world said in a statement the case illustrates, “the failure of both the media and the prosecutor’s office to act responsibly” and it could set “a dangerous precedent and could have grave consequences for the fundamental rights of people living with HIV and AIDS in Uganda and beyond.”
Dorah Kiconco, a Ugandan lawyer believes Namubiru has been treated unfairly and shouldn’t be going to trial for the incident. She should have been taken to the Uganda Nurses and Midwife Council, which are responsible for protecting the public from unsafe nursing practices.
“She was working and she got into a bad accident and it should have been treated as such,” Kiconco said. “She’s on trial because of her HIV status.”