play videoA victim explained how her mother died at the emergency ward in Korle Bu
Depressed, disheartened; maybe worse, but that’s how best one could describe the state in which relatives were, Wednesday morning, at the Surgical and Medical Emergency unit (SME) of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital.
The hospital has had to treat patients in critical health conditions in chairs, particularly in the past few days due to absence of adequate beds and space to accommodate them. These patients, regardless of the degree of injury, have no option but to spend hours, in some cases, days in uncomfortable plastic chairs to receive treatment.
A family which had lost their mother just few days after her admission bemoaned the plight of the elderly woman who had to be restricted to sitting for over 72 hours despite the severity of her case. Having to see their mother helplessly seated in a chair provided by the hospital and supported by a pillow in spite of how terrible her situation was, was extremely unacceptable, they said.
One of them explained how on their arrival Saturday, her mother was told there were insufficient beds to accommodate her and how her condition worsened subsequently because her legs were swollen from the continuous sitting.
“We brought my mother here on Saturday upon referral from the Korle Bu Polyclinic. We were told there was no bed and we were given a chair as the only option. We bought a pillow to support her back. We only got a bed for her on Monday around 3 pm. Even with a healthy person, imagine how much pain you’ll feel after sitting at one place for a long period; compare that to a sick person and picture what she went through. Her legs got swollen and you could see that she was in so much pain”, she recounted.
“She is dead. When they eventually transferred her from the chair, she couldn’t breathe well and they had to put her on oxygen. I can barely speak, I have been crying since morning, I feel my mother’s health would have improved and she would have lived if she had gotten a bed from the start and had the treatment she deserved”, she continued.
Another relative expressed utter disappointment at how government barely seems concerned regardless of how many lives are being lost as a result of the no-bed syndrome.
“Our leaders should be very concerned, they should seek our welfare and stop looting monies. We are voted, we are all citizens of Ghana. We are all human, its only grace that has gotten them there, we beg them; they should help us. They are not concerned because their family members get the chance to travel outside for treatment when they fall sick”, she said.
A frustrated elderly man who had brought his wife in for treatment from Takoradi, Afia Nkwanta hospital explained his dilemma.
“My wife was transferred here with a kidney problem but we stood outside with the ambulance for several hours because there was no bed. We had to beg the ambulance driver to give us his stretcher and it’s what she’s still on in her condition. They even took her temperature and other vitals in the ambulance”.
Speaking to the media however, Public Relations Officer of the Korle Bu Teaching hospital, Mustapha Salifu explained that the situation has improved relatively following the 2-day ‘ban’ on referrals to the hospital. Unlike Tuesday where there were about 60 cases recorded in the 36-bed Unit, the number he revealed, had reduced by 10, adding that the hospital is expecting further reduction so that more referrals can be taken afterwards.
“Yesterday we said we were suspending admissions for 48-hours, this was to allow the place to de-congest. This morning, our checks at the place show that there are still a number of patients in there who are being managed while sitting in chairs. The numbers per our records show we still have an excess of about 50 patients at the SME so we are hoping that by tomorrow, the place would have been fully decongested so we resume normal operations. Tomorrow will be the end of the 48-hours that we gave”.
He also hinted of preparations underway to officially open the newly constructed Surgical and Medical Emergency Unit of the Hospital on the 20th to help reduce significantly the occurrence of the no-bed syndrome at the hospital as well as to give patients better conditions for healthcare.
“We are preparing a much bigger place that would take on more patients. There’s a new emergency that is coming up that we will commission on the 20th of this month so that we have some additional space to take care of the emergencies” he said.
The issue of no-bed syndrome in most of the country’s hospitals has been of concern particularly after news of the death of a 70-year-old man at the LEKMA Hospital in June went rife.
Management of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, Tuesday, July 10, said it will not take referrals from other health facilities following a shortage of beds at the Surgical Medical Emergency Unit of the hospital. The move, they explained, is part of measures to decongest the facility after overcrowding of patients has made it difficult for doctors to work at the SME.