The Ghana Health Service has 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 Citi Breakfast Show.
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.
There is supposed to be a system in place that allows the various hospitals to communicate among themselves on the availability of beds before they redirect patients to such places.
But Dr. Nsiah-Asare said this system was “not working well” enough.
“That is why I say we are going to put even better systems in place… it is a multifaceted thing that we have to put in place.”
He noted further that a stronger and revamped ambulance system could present an adequate solution.
“If any patient in this country has a problem, the ideal thing is that you call either 911 or whatever the number is and an ambulance comes to your doorstep and picks you. So we should look at the ambulance system we have in this country,” he said.
The search for beds
The first hospital Prince Anthony Opoku-Acheampong and his family went to before he died was a private facility, C&J Medicare Hospital.
Over there, a nurse confirmed that Prince Anthony needed to be hospitalized after a brief assessment, but said the hospital could not cater for them.
From there on, the family moved on to the Korle Bu Polyclinic, Ridge Hospital, Police Hospital, the Trust Hospital, the La Polyclinic, before finally arriving at the LEKMA Hospital at Teshie, where he eventually died.