A grieving father has given a 72 hour ultimatum to the authorities of Manhyia Government Hospital in Kumasi to explain the circumstances that led to the death of his newborn child at the facility on Saturday, June 1, which could have been avoided.
Mr. Kwabena Nyantakyi believed his wife, Sister Afia, a patient at the hospital, would not have lost her child if the staff on duty had performed their duties well, a case he attributed to ‘total negligence of duty’, and has therefore threatened a legal action if the facility fails to comply.
Narrating his wife’s ordeal on Otec FM’s morning shows ‘Nyansapo’ on Monday, June 10, 2019, he said a day before his wife expected delivery date, they went to the hospital in the evening after complaints of pregnancy complications but the nurses on duty refused to admit her, giving lack of delivery beds as a reason.
“My wife has been attending her anti-natal at the hospital and am sure they have all needed about her. Over seven hours of intense labour pains without been attended to, and seeing that the child was coming’ we begged the nurses to take her to the theatre for delivery, but they refused,” he told the host, Captain Koda.
“Her plea was to have the baby taken out by a Caesarean Section (CS), but her request was ignored despite her inability to push for natural delivery.” he sobbed.
“Twelve hours of intense labour pains, the CS was carried out but the child could not survive. The mother noticed that the newborn baby did not cry immediately after birth and the child was not given to her mother, raising a suspicion that the child is dead,” he continued.
He warned that “if after Wednesday the authorities at the hospital fail to give reasons for their actions that led to death of my son, I will seek a legal action against them for the necessary compensation.
He has also called on the Ghana Health Services (GHS) to set up an independent inquiry to the matther.
The Administrator of Manhyia Government Hospital, Mr Samuel Dodzi, when contacted by Otec News, declined to comment on the issue, saying he is yet to be briefed on the incident.
Speaking on the issue on the Programme, a Development Planning Lecturer at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science Technology (KNUST), Dr. Stephen Takyi, called on government to increase funding for the health sector, emergency services in particular, as part of measures to solve the ‘no bed syndrome’ that has gripped the country’s leading hospitals.
According to Dr Takyi, the syndrome has led to a number of needless deaths with the recent being a 70-year-old who died in his car after being turned away from six public health facilities over lack of beds
On his part, Mr. Kwabena Owusu Nkatiah, an Economist, noted that more patients will continue to be refused admission hospitals because the health facilities have been overstretched of its capacity.
“To avoid this situation and to further prevent more people losing their lives as a result of the unavailability of beds at major hospitals, there is the need for the country to invest more in its health sector,” he added.
Criminalize no bed syndrome – Speaker directs
In June 2018, the Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Mike Oquaye, called for laws to criminalize the turning away of patients by health professionals under emergency situations.
The call comes in the wake of the death of a 70-year-old man who was refused treatment for lack of bed by seven hospitals in Accra.
Commenting on the matter in the House, the Speaker said the gaps in the system that enables health professionals to play mischief must be sealed.
“And nobody can come and tell me that this is a domestic matter. Go and explain to the police. These laws have not been there from beginning of time and people take advantage. I would want honorable Members of Parliament to analyze these areas. What are the gaps that allow people do these things to our people?
“But actually, there must be specific laws on specific mischief that we consider as Members of Parliament that worry and bother our people and these are the matters for private members’ bill to enhance the parameters of the law and protect our people even more,” the Speaker noted.
He added: “The law is not as adequate as we sometimes think. In other countries, I know they specifically provide for such matters. And we should look at our own provisions as to issues like this. No public hospitals, no medical person employed in the public owned facility shall refuse to attend to a person who’s brought in an emergency situation to a public hospital, and that that’ll be an offense and a crime. In fact it is very easy to associate that with manslaughter. The essence of it is negligence. So you will know that when such a person dies you this doctor or nurse you are going to be charged”.
Ghana Health Service vows to eliminate no-bed syndrome
The Ghana Health Service admitted stronger systems are needed to curb incidents of Ghanaians dying over lack of beds at hospital facilities.
This comes after a 70-year-old man, Prince Anthony Opoku-Acheampong, reportedly died in his car at the LEKMA Hospital at Teshie, after seven hospitals turned him away over claims there were no beds.
The deceased’s family had started searching for a hospital for him at 11:00 pm on June 2, travelling for about 46 kilometres in total, across the seven hospitals, till he eventually died at around 3:30 am.
The GHS Director-General, Dr. Anthony Nsiah-Asare, said the Service was first going to set up an investigative Committee to probe the incident.
“We will get to the depth of this issue and make sure this doesn’t happen again in this country of ours,” he assured on the otecfmghana.com.
A number of Ghanaians have over the years given accounts similar to the incident that led to Prince Anthony Opoku-Acheampong’s death.
But Dr. Nsiah-Asare said this latest death could be the last if adequately addressed.
“This is going to be used as something which we are going to use as a springboard to stop this once and for all… Under no circumstance should an emergency case enter any place and you say that there is no bed so the patient should remain in the car. It doesn’t happen anywhere” he stated.