The family of a patient, Solomon Asare-Kumah, who died after being admitted at the 37 Military Hospital at age 48, has sued the management of the facility over alleged medical negligence.
In a writ of summons filed by the lawyer for the family, they listed wrongful insertion of oxygen tube and malfunctioning of a drill meant for surgery, among other things, as the cause of Solomon Asare-Kumah’s death.
The mental distress caused by the death of Solomon Asare-Kumah according to the writ also led to the passing of the deceased’s father.
The family is asking the court for damages in excess of GHS 2 million from the 37 Military Hospital.
Solomon Asare Kumah came to Ghana from the UK in 2019 to visit his sick father but took ill himself.
After some examination, doctors said he had a non-cancerous brain tumour that needed to be removed urgently.
He was referred from a hospital in Sakumono to the 37 Military Hospital
According to the family, a neurosurgeon at the 37 Military Hospital whose name was given only as Colonel Appiah, told them the surgery was necessary at the time.
The family said the supposed emergency surgery of the deceased was postponed several times with different excuses including one time when the neurosurgeon said he wasn’t feeling well and couldn’t perform the surgery.
“At a point, he took my brother to the theatre, he was administered anaesthesia and everything. After four or five hours, the surgeon brought him back to the ward that he couldn’t perform the surgery… Another time, the surgery couldn’t happen, he postponed it again with the excuse that the drill machine that he was going to use wasn’t functioning. So, he was going to purchase another one from South Africa,” said the deceased’s brother, Emmanuel in an interview on Joy FM in February 2020.
He said his brother was later transferred to the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital for Inferior Vena Cava filter procedure which involves a mesh being placed in a lower limb to prevent the blood clot from travelling to the heart or lungs after which he was sent back to the 37 Military Hospital.
He said after the surgery was performed he went to visit his brother who had swollen up like “a balloon.”
“If you touched him he felt so soft, like rubber. I had to calm myself down because I was so angry,” Emmanuel said.
After 24 hours, he said he returned and was informed about the brother’s death.
He added that he noticed that the medical bills had increased astronomically and there were several discrepancies.
37 Hospital responds
The hospital in a statement when the issue went viral in 2020, said it was investigating the matter and will take the necessary action after the probe.
Issues of medical negligence are very common in Ghana, especially in public health facilities. However, only a few people are often able to take legal action against these health facilities.