A legal advocacy organisation, Action Against Medical Negligence Ghana (AMEN GH), is demanding justice for the family of 31-year-old Augustina Awortwe, who died at the Cape Coast Teaching Hospital after delayed medical attention.
The group says it can no longer bear the number of preventable deaths recorded in the country due to challenges with the health system.
For that reason, it is actively following up on the issue to ensure wrongdoers are duly sanctioned.
“How many more and for how long will such preventable death(s) continue to occur in Ghana? As an organisation, we are actively following up on the case and will seek to bring justice to the community.”
Augustina was referred to the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital after complications following a caesarean section by doctors at the Holy Child Catholic Hospital.
Due to her deteriorating condition, the trip was diverted to the Cape Coast Teaching Hospital.
The Head of the Western Regional Ambulance Service, Dr Tawiah Siameh, blamed the staff of Holy Child Hospital, saying they erred by referring the patient to Korle-Bu instead of the nearest referral centre, Effia Nkwanta Regional Hospital.
He noted that there was no need to transport Augustina Awortwe because qualified obstetrician-gynaecologists in the region could have attended to the woman.
“The truth is, this patient shouldn’t have been sent to Korle Bu. I’m the Head of the Department of Surgery at the Effia Nkwanta Regional Hospital, a referral centre. And every doctor must know about the national referral policy of the country and the guidelines,” he said on JoyNews’ PM Express.
Dr Tawiah Siameh is also the Head of Surgeons at the Effia Nkwanta Regional Hospital.
According to the deceased’s husband, John Yeboah, the journey did not materialise because the ambulance driver delayed transporting his wife.
He said the delay was due to their inability to provide an amount of ¢600 to cover the ambulance’s fuel cost.
However, the Western Region Coordinator of the National Ambulance Service, Dr Tawiah Siameh, has rejected this claim. Instead, he insists the Service was not negligent.
“He [the husband] said he didn’t have enough money and that he had only ¢50. That was used to buy the fuel. On our way, we were called again to pick the one-day-old baby to be breastfed; so, we returned to the hospital. That caused some delay.”
Meanwhile, the Minority members on the Committee, led by Kwabena Mintah Akandoh, want the ambulance personnel interdicted, pending investigations and corrections of such anomalies.
“Issues about ambulances requesting money from patients before embarking on a journey is becoming very common in our system. So, for me as a Member of Parliament and a Ranking Member, we aim to bring this issue to the front burner, especially in Parliament, to investigate and make sure that these things will not re-occur.”
Action Against Medical Negligence Ghana is a legal advocacy organisation addressing medico-legal issues arising from avoidable medical harm and promoting patient safety and justice in Ghana.
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