Health Service investigates death of man denied care at 7 hospitals

BY: Rebecca Quaicoe Duho & Dominic Moses Awiah

A 70-year-old man reportedly died in his car at the LEKMA Hospital at Teshie in Accra after he had been turned away by seven hospitals because they claimed they had no beds to admit him.

The man, whose name has been given as Prince Anthony Opoku Acheampon, is said to have been taken first to the C&J Medicare Hospital at Adabraka on Saturday, June 2, 2018.

However, after a brief assessment, a nurse recommended that he needed to be hospitalised but said the hospital could not cater for him.

From the C&J Medicare Hospital, Mr Opoku Acheampon’s family sent him to the Korle Bu Polyclinic, the Ridge Hospital, the Police Hospital, the Trust Hospital and the La Polyclinic, before finally arriving at the LEKMA Hospital at Teshie, where he died.

The hospitals are said to have refused to admit Mr Opoku Acheampon because they claimed they did not have beds.


Investigations

In reaction to the bizarre story, the Ghana Health Service (GHS) has decided to set up a committee to investigate the case.

In an interview with the Daily Graphic in Accra yesterday, the Director-General of the GHS, Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare, said there was the need for stronger systems to help curb the ‘no-bed’ syndrome in public hospitals.

He said after it had been set up, the committee would be given a maximum 10 days to complete its work and submit its report, which would be examined and implemented to prevent the occurrence of such an incident in future.

 “We will get to the bottom of this issue and make sure this doesn’t happen again in this country of ours. This latest death could be the last if adequately addressed.

“This is going to be used as a springboard to stop this once and for all. Under no circumstance should an emergency case enter any place and you say that there is no bed and so the patient should remain in his car. It doesn’t happen anywhere,” he stated.

The late Opoku Acheampon was the CEO of Printhony Printing Press at Adabraka in Accra.

His company is reported to be the supplier of stationery for the C&J Medicare Hospital, where he was first turned away.

Shock

The bereaved family is yet to recover from the shocking experience that has brought it so much pain and sorrow.

According to the late Opoku Acheampon’s wife, the ordeal she and her family encountered at the hands of the seven hospitals on the night of June 2, this year before her husband died would never leave her memory.

Narrating her story to the Daily Graphic at the family’s residence at Mallam in Accra yesterday, Madam Esther Opoku Acheampong said the manner in which her husband died had made her lose confidence in the country’s healthcare system.

“How can seven health institutions tell me they do not have any bed to admit my husband? My husband died in a car because C&J Medicare, the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, the Korle Bu Polyclinic, the Ridge, the Police, the Trust and the Lekma hospitals claimed they did not have any bed to admit him. This is sad,” she said and burst into tears.

 Accounts

Recounting how the incident happened, Mrs Opoku Acheampon said the night preceding her husband’s death, they had  dinner and were getting ready to go to bed.

“My husband drew my attention to the fact he was not feeling so well. He complained about headache and feeling dizzy. He later started vomiting. We quickly put him into our car and drove him to hospital around 12 a.m.,” she said.

She said when they got to C&J Medicare, the nurse on duty told her that her husband was beyond 70 years and that they could give him urgent treatment but the hospital didn’t have any bed available.

“We proceeded to the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, where we were told the same thing by the nurse on duty. We begged the nurse to at least come and check my husband, who was then lying down in the car. The nurse came and checked him and told us that his blood pressure and sugar level were high but he could not be admitted because they had no bed,” she recounted.

After they had been turned away, Mrs Opoku Acheampong said, she and her son took Mr Opoku Acheampong to the Korle Bu Polyclinic, the Ridge and the Trust hospitals, where they were again turned away for the same reason: lack of bed to admit him.

Desperate

She said they finally drove to the LEKMA Hospital at 3 a.m., but the nurse on duty told him that the hospital didn’t have any bed.

“I knelt down and begged her that I would pay any amount the hospital would charge. She drew my attention to the doctor on duty who was then relaxing in his car outside. I went to him and begged him but he refused to come and check my husband,” she said.

Mrs Opoku Acheampon said she was in the process of begging the doctor when her son, Ishmael, came to alert her that his father had become unconscious.

“When the doctor heard that, he came and checked his pulse. He later told my son and I that he (my husband) was dead. We had stood there for more than 30 minutes begging but the doctor just did nothing. This is how cruel and heartless some  doctors and nurses are,” she said, as tears rolled down her cheeks.

Mrs Opoku Acheampon said what hurt her so much was that one of her children is a doctor in the United Kingdom and that her husband would have lived if she had been around.