A legal practitioner almost abandoned his desire to serve his constituents in Ghana’s legislature, after he watched the life of his beloved wife slip through his hands painfully on September 6, 2016.
Joseph Dindiock Kpemka, a prominent lawyer, was travelling to Nigeria to participate in a religious service at the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN), when his wife suddenly suffered a stroke.
All major health facilities in the capital he drove his sick wife – Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, 37 Military Hospital, Nyaho Medical Centre, The Trust Hospital and finally to the ultramodern Ridge Hospital – all refused to admit and administer treatment to the patient because “there was no bed”.
At the nation’s premier facility, Korle Bu, a nurse on duty who met them outside the emergency ward told them there was no bed without even seeing the patient.
For six hours, Mr Kpemka shuffled all these ‘big’ medical facilities and even went on his knees begging medical staff at the Ridge Hospital to even admit her on the floor and start a treatment just to save the life of his dying wife.
Money, was not the problem for the 43-year-old legal practitioner but at that stage, every second that passed, was a moment of nervousness for him.
He remembered that he had the contact of the administrator, a certain Dr Anaaba so he placed a call to him and the administrator directed staff to admit the patient.
That was in the sixth hour of the patient’s battle for her life.
He was asked to run a CT scan but the result proved the “situation was beyond recovery” and when the news was broken to him that his wife had passed on, he lost consciousness and fell into a coma.
His beloved 39-year-old wife, fought, struggled and gave up the ghost on September 7, 2016, after the staff of some of the nation’s plush-looking health facilities failed to even use Shepherd’s sling to fight off her condition.
When he regained consciousness, he realised he was in VIP facility which had three other beds empty yet the same people could not offer one for his wife who needed it most making him wonder if it was worth keeping him there.
“I can tell you that it’s a sad reflection of our healthcare in Ghana,” he narrated on the Super Morning Show on Joy FM Tuesday.
Shedding tears and struggling to contain his emotions momentarily, Joseph Kpemka, shared the pain of losing his wife, similar incident to what happened to a 70-year-old last week.
For Kpemka, the refusal by seven hospitals to offer the old man a bed is just a replay of his nightmare two years ago.
Health authorities say they have launched investigations into the circumstances that led to the death of Anthony Opoku-Acheampon.
“What we have put up in edifices of first class health facilities, are complicit in murder,” Kpemka stated.
Kpemka said he had decided to put his political campaign on hold following the devastating blow dealt him by the death of his wife.
However, after seeing how well the funeral was attended coupled with an encouragement he received from watching a religious programme on television, he laced his boots and continued his campaign.
On December 7, 2016, exactly three months after his wife’s painful death, Joseph Dindiock Kpemka won the Parliamentary election to represent the people of Tempane in the Upper East Region, an achievement he would have loved to celebrate with his late wife.
He is now Deputy Attorney-General in the government of President Nana Akufo-Addo and he plans to immortalise his wife by forming a foundation to cause a change in the health system.
“It is real, it’s not cosmetic,” he declared, adding, the ‘no bed’ excuse is “is the modus operandi of many of these referral facilities”.
Kpemka revealed, he is currently preparing a paper he would lay before Parliament as part of the process to re-orient health professionals and get them to change their attitude to healthcare delivery.