The Director-General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare, has given a 6 July 2018 deadline to the committee tasked by the GHS to investigate the death of a 70-year-old man who was turned away from seven hospitals.
“Ghana Health Service has formed a committee to go in-depth into what happened not to find scapegoats as I have been saying but to find what went wrong… I have given them up to 6th of July to give us the report,” Dr Nsiah-Asare, said.
Ishmael Opoku, son of the deceased explained that the incident happened on 3 June 2018 after he received a phone call from his mother to come home and assist in taking his father to the hospital because he was complaining of headache and dizziness.
At midnight, Mr Opoku and his mother drove the old man to the C&J Hospital at Adabraka where a nurse turned them away with the no-bed excuse without even administering first aid.
They left C&J Hospital to the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital where the same excuse was given. From Korle-Bu, they made trips to Korle-Bu Polyclinic, the Accra Regional Hospital, the Police Hospital and LEKMA Hospital where his father eventually died. All the hospitals they visited turned them away over claims that there was no bed.
At the LEKMA hospital, Mr Opoku said his mother knelt before the doctor and pleaded that her dying husband be attended to, but the doctor refused to take care of him, insisting there was nothing he could do. Mr Opoku-Acheampong died in his son’s car after all attempts to get him medical treatment failed.
Dr Nsiah-Asare, who was speaking at the launch of Advocacy for Medical Malpractice Victims (AMMV), a non-governmental initiative in Kumasi on Friday, 15 June 2018, said he has given a directive to all health facilities to stop turning patients with emergency cases away with an excuse of ‘no bed’.
“I’ve served notices to all the regional health directorates, to all facilities that there should be nothing like no bed anywhere for emergencies,” he said, adding the directive was “strongly worded”.
For him, “There is nothing like no bed for emergency patients”, since emergency can happen at any time and for that reason, “emergencies don’t have referrals”.
Dr Nsiah-Asare expressed happiness that parliament has taken up the matter and expressed the hope that policies will be directed at improving healthcare in the country especially emergencies.
The objective of AMMV is to fight for the rights and privileges of patients who develop injuries or fatalities as a result of medical malpractice by hospitals or health professionals.