Saturday, 13 April

Medical negligence: St John's Hosp. denies claim, says plaintiff prolonged own delivery by insisting on leaving to sit exam

Health News
St John's Hospital, Accra

Oak & Wuuds Law, solicitors for St John's Hospital and Fertility Centre in Accra, have denied allegations of negligence levelled against their client by a couple who lost their baby at the facility and subsequently sued for compensation.

The couple, according to the GNA, lost the child through asphyxiation, allegedly due to the negligence of the hospital's staff.

Mr Ekow Andoh and Sandra Tekyiwaa Sackey claim the hospital knew or ought to have known that its health officers’ actions and inactions fell below the standard of care when its officers failed to curtail a prolonged delivery by the expectant mother when the latter was under the duty of care of the defendant, a situation that caused the couple’s baby boy to be diagnosed with severe asphyxiation, which resulted in its death.

They said the defendant’s midwives declined the the plaintiff’s request for elective caesarean section (CS) at the commencement of delivery, which caused a prolonged delivery and resulted in severe asphyxiation and the death of the baby.

In a rejoinder to the GNA, however, the hospital's lawyers said: "We wish to emphatically state that our client and its health workers exercised reasonable care in accordance with the established standards and protocols accepted in the medical profession in their duty to Mrs. Sandra Tekyiwaa Sackey from her antenatal to the delivery of her baby." 

"At no point in time did our client breach its duty to Mrs. Sackey. At the time Mrs. Sackey visited our client's health facility and upon detection of her signs of labour, being water breaking which she claimed happened an hour earlier Mrs. Sackey was immediately attended to". 

"However, she informed our health workers of an impending exams she had to write on the same day. Our client and its health workers through their profesionalism persuaded Mrs. Sackey over and over again in the interest of her unborn baby to forgo her pending examination that very day. This was eminent on the account of poor heartbeat of the unborn baby and the need to save the baby urgently." 

"After a very prolonged delay on the part of Mrs. Sackey who insisted she wanted to leave our client's hospital to go and write her exams that very day she was to deliver a baby, Mrs. Sackey agreed to be admitted upon further advise and persuasion from our Client", the letter said.

It continued: "Our client and its staff acted expeditiously when they realized that the baby was asphyxiated after the delivery. The doctor on duty helped resuscitate the baby and arrangements were made to transfer the baby to another hospital for further treatment". 

"Our client attended to Mrs. Sackey and later discharged her on 14th August 2023 at 2:00 pm. Our client was informed through a letter from Mrs. Sackey's lawyer dated 3rd November 2023 that the baby unfortunately passed away on 14th August 2023 at the referral hospital."

The hospital denies all the allegations and vowed to fight the suit in court once served.

Read the hospital's full rejoinder below:

We act as solicitors for and on behalf of St. John's Hospital and Fertility Centre (our Client) and have its firm instructions to write this letter. 

We write to draw your attention to a slanderous publication by your outfit on the 13th day of December 2023 with the headline: "Couple sue St. John Hospital & Fertility Center for GHe5 million over alleged negligence" which seeks to tarnish the brand of our client as a leading provider of health care services in the country. This said publication has been cited by other News Agencies on their various platforms as a result of your unethical and unprofessional conduct of being bias. 

Per the publication, a couple by name Ekow Andoh and Sandra Tekyiwaa Sackey had sued our Client and in their suit claimed inter alia for a declaration that our Client was vicariously liable for the medical negligence of its employee health workers whose negligent omission and commission caused their baby to be diagnosed with severe asphyxia and death thereafter. 

We wish to state that the said writ has not been served on our client and our client learnt of the said writ for the first time in your publication. 

We wish to emphatically state that our client and its health workers exercised reasonable care in accordance with the established standards and protocols accepted in the medical profession in their duty to Mrs. Sandra Tekyiwaa Sackey from her antenatal to the delivery of her baby. 

At no point in time did our client breach its duty to Mrs. Sackey. At the time Mrs. Sackey visited our client's health facility and upon detection of her signs of labour, being water breaking which she claimed happened an hour earlier Mrs. Sackey was immediately attended to. However, she informed our health workers of an impending exams she had to write on the same day. Our client and its health workers through their 

profesionalism persuaded Mrs. Sackey over and over again in the interest of her unborn baby to forgo her pending examination that very day. This was eminent on the account of poor heartbeat of the unborn baby and the need to save the baby urgently. 

After a very prolong delay on the part of Mrs. Sackey who insisted she wanted to leave our client's hospital to go and write her exams that very day she was to deliver a baby, Mrs. Sackey agreed to be admitted upon further advise and persuasion from our Client.

Our client and its staff acted expeditiously when they realised that the baby was asphyxiated after the delivery. The doctor on duty helped resuscitate the baby and arrangements were made to transfer the baby to another hospital for further treatment. 

Our client attended to Mrs. Sackey and later discharged her on 14th August 2023 at 2:00 pm. 

Our client was informed through a letter from Mrs. Sackey's lawyer dated 3rd November 2023 that the baby unfortunately passed away on 14th August 2023 at the referral hospital. 

We wish to state that our client has every intention of contesting the said writ when served on our client. Our client strongly deny the allegations of medical negligence and any vicarious liability as claimed in the statement. The allegations made against our client in the said publication are falsehood, baseless, unmeritorious and is intended to tarnish the hard-earned reputation of our client as one of the best fertility centers in the country. We also wish to inform you that this allegation can best be described as extortionary. 

Our Client has since 2012 delivered over 4,288 babies with 6 still and 4 macerated births. 

St. Johns have won the hearts of its numerous clients based on sound management practices. It has a very disciplined workforce who recognise the need to provide a high-skilled and satisfactory care to its clients. Every decision made by our client's healthcare professionals is guided by the highest standards of care. 

St John's Hospital and Fertility Centre has won numerous awards including the CIMG for best Private Hospital 2020, Customers Choice Fertility Centre of the Year 2021, Trusted Women & Fertility Hospital of the year 2021, HealthCare Centre of the Year (Fertility) 2022 from National Customers Choice, Best Community Involvement 

Hospital 2022 from West Africa Excellence Healthcare awards, Ultramodern Medical Facility of the year 2022 from Ghana-West Africa Excellence Awards, Fertility Hospital Brand of the year 2023 from Ghana Corporate BRANDS Awards, Healthcare Facility of the year 2023 from NCC Awards Ghana, Outstanding Private Specialist Hospital of the 

Year (Gynaecology) by Ghana-West Africa Health Excellence Award 2023. 

We deem it extremely unethical that you have used your platform to publish such falsehood without any verification of its veracity from our Client. 

We are by this letter requesting that you retract that publication and render an unqualified apology to our client through the same medium on or before the 15th of December 2023 to render unnecessary any further action from our client.

Source: classfmonline.com