Monday, 17 June

Public confidence waning in 37 army hospital – High Command probes quality issues

Health News
The hospital, he noted, was responsible for the negligence of its staff

The high command of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) has expressed concern about dwindling public confidence in the quality of healthcare delivery at the 37 Military Hospital in Accra.

It has, thus, set up a 12-member quality management committee to exercise oversight control on the facility's quality of service delivery.

Inaugurating the committee, Chief of Defence Staff, Vice Admiral Seth Amoama, said: “In recent years, we have witnessed a number of complaints from the public about the quality of service, some leading to avoidable loss of lives and its resultant loss of public confidence in the Ghana Armed Forces services and its facilities”.

“To forestall this trend and revive public confidence in the Ghana Armed Forces' medical services, the military high command saw it imperative to set up a committee to promote quality assurance for the improvement of quality of care at the Ghana Armed Forces medical facility," he noted.

The General Jurisdiction 6 Division of the High Court presided over by Justice Kwaku Tawiah Ackaah-Boafo, two years ago, awarded GHS1,075,000 in damages against the hospital for negligently causing the death of a 27-year-old woman during childbirth almost eight years ago.

Ruling on the November 2015 incident, the court awarded the father and husband GHS400,000 each for loss of expectations of life; GHS50,000 each for mental distress, GHS100,000 to the baby, Yaw Nyamekye, for pain and suffering and another GHS50,000 for the resultant disfigurement suffered by the baby.

Also, the court awarded GHS50,000 to the child’s primary caregivers and an additional GHS25,000 in damages.

Helena Brema Nyamekye, a PhD student at the University of Ghana at the time of the incident, requested CS for the birth of her child but the doctors insisted she had vaginal birth.

She bled to death during the delivery.

The victim’s husband and father jointly sued the hospital.

During the hearing, the doctors argued that the CS request came too late after Mrs Nyamakye had agreed to vaginal delivery.

It was, however, revealed in court that the CS request was made on the morning of November 11, 2015.

In the opinion of the judge, the hospital had no “plausible or reasonable explanation” for denying the CS request, adding that the young woman’s death was “preventable”.

“The only logical conclusion the court ought to come to is that the deceased died out of injuries caused her”, Justice Ackaah-Boafo said.

The hospital, he noted, was responsible for the negligence of its staff.

Also, the family of 48-year-old Solomon Asare Kumah who died at the hospital in October 2019, sued the facility, a doctor, the Chief of Defence Staff and the government for negligence. 

The family wants to be paid GHS2 million in damages for medical negligence that led to the death of the deceased.

According to the family of the deceased, their relative died due to negligence and a breach of contract on the part of the doctor, Col Dr Gao Appiah, and the hospital.

“The hospital and its employees failed to exercise due care when they wrongly inserted Solomon’s breathing tube under his skin thereby denying oxygen for a considerable amount of time and as such causing strain on his heart and other organs and, thus, causing his death,” the family argued in a writ filed in 2021.

In the negligence complaint, the family argued that the hospital (3rd defendant) and its employees failed to provide the appropriate standard of care when they failed to notice within reasonable time that Solomon’s tube had been wrongly inserted until he (Solomon) became extremely bloated.

“The 3rd defendant and its employees responsible for Solomon’s care, particularly the 4th defendant (Doctor), failed to exercise due care when they failed to ensure on 16th September, 2019, that the drill required for Solomon’s surgery was in good working condition before cutting open Solomon’s skull, thereby exposing his body and organs to considerable strain and clotting in the vein, a condition which required an expensive procedure costing Solomon and his family the Ghana cedi equivalent of five thousand five hundred United States Dollars ((US$5,500.00) plus other expenses to treat.”

The Writ continued: “The 3rd defendant and its employees failed in their duty of care to Solomon when they failed to notice that Solomon had developed symptoms of clotting in the vein; and

“The 3rd defendant failed in its duty as a referral hospital to ensure that it had the requisite tools and equipment to treat Solomon’s condition before admitting him.” 

The family is, therefore, seeking damages of GHS2,008,259.57 for negligently causing the death of Solomon Asare-Kumah; compensation to the widow and family members; general damages for breach of contract; GHS20,000 for funeral and other expenses; GHS36,200 paid by Solomon and his family; GHS10,000 for his 60-day admission; USD5,500 for IVC filter procedure and GHS40,000 as legal fees.