The Central Aflao Hospital in the Ketu South Municipality of the Volta Region and two nurses of the facility are under investigation for alleged medical negligence after a patient in a critical condition was refused treatment unless cash was deposited, leading to her death.
The family of Linda Adua, 39, the deceased, has subsequently petitioned the President, the Minister of Health, the Ghana Health Service and the Medical and Dental Council, for justice.
The family says the pleas of the sick woman and her 19-year-old son could not convince the nurses to accept mobile money payment for her treatment, leaving the patient unattended to until she passed away.
The Medical and Dental Council and the Ghana Health Service (GHS) have swiftly responded to the petition and despatched a team of investigators to the hospital to probe the matter.
Dr Gabrielle Kojo, the Medical Director of the Aflao Central Hospital, also known as Nkansah Hospital, confirmed to the Daily Graphic that a team from the GHS was in the hospital to investigate the matter.
“The police have summoned us to release the nurses involved for interrogation on the matter, which we have done,” he said.
Dr Makafui Dagbasu, the Medical Director of the Ketu South Municipal Hospital, the main referral centre of the municipality, also confirmed that the hospital was currently being investigated over the subject.
Abigail Adua, an elder sister of the deceased, told the Daily Graphic that at a point when Linda appeared to have died, the hospital directed the son to take her to a government facility where she was pronounced dead on arrival.
Linda, who is yet to be buried, lived with her only son in Aflao, where she operated a restaurant.
“Much as we appreciate the work and dedication to duty of health professionals, we think that there are some bad lots among them in the hospitals and clinics, whose actions and inaction are denting the image of the medical and nursing professions and need to be brought to order to sanitise the system,” Ms Adua said.
She said Linda’s son, Jerry Nii Tetteh, had just gained admission to pursue a degree programme at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), and was now left alone and traumatised as his reliable source of support and friend was gone.
The late Linda Adua
Abigail said on April 11 this year, Linda asked her son to accompany her to the hospital because she was not feeling too well.
“They reached the hospital around 4:05 a.m., and were met by two nurses on duty, who requested that they made a deposit of GH¢400 before she would be attended to,” Abigail narrated.
She said Linda offered to pay through mobile money transfer, but the nurses said electronic transfers were against the hospital’s policy, insisting that Tetteh should go out of the hospital to look for a mobile money merchant to withdraw cash for the payment.
“My sister pleaded with the nurses to take the MoMo and attend to her because it was too early in the morning to find a merchant to withdraw the money, but they refused,” she said.
She said Linda’s son later “had to walk from the hospital to Avoeme Junction before getting a motorbike to take him to the Aflao Border, about two kilometres from the hospital, in search of a mobile money merchant.
“All this while, Linda remained seated in a wheelchair in the outpatient department (OPD) unattended to by the nurses. No details of the complaints were recorded, and her vitals were also not taken except her name which was recorded in the patient register at the OPD,” she added.
The son found no merchant to facilitate the cash withdrawal, she said.
Linda, meanwhile, complained of difficulty in breathing and pleaded with the nurses to put her on oxygen.
“One of the nurses retorted that she was disturbing them as she scanned her phone,” she said.
She said Linda, who had been wheeled to a ward, asked the son to assist her to the washroom, but she fell on the way.
“It was at that point that another patient in the ward, who witnessed the whole incident, rushed out to inform the nurses about what had happened.
“The nurse, apparently sensing danger, told Linda’s son to get a taxi and take her to the Ketu South Municipal Hospital as her situation was beyond their capacity,” she said.
Confused and helpless
Abigail said the son rushed to get the taxi as his mother remained motionless, and by the time he got back to the hospital with the taxi, the mother had been put on a stretcher, and wheeled from the ward to the entrance of the hospital.
She said the nurses asked the young man to sit in the taxi as they pushed the motionless body of his mother into the taxi, with her head resting on his laps, and instructed him to take her to the Ketu South Municipal Hospital without a referral note or an accompanying officer.
“Just upon arrival at the Ketu South Municipal Hospital, Linda was pronounced dead by the medical staff who said they were sure she had died several minutes before being brought to their facility at about 7:40 a.m,” she said.
Abigail said when the news of the incident reached the family, they reached out to the management of the Central Aflao Hospital to understand what Linda’s son had narrated to them.