Mob descends on KATH to demand stillborn

About 50 young men and women Thursday stormed the Maternity Ward (Ward A1) of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) and assaulted nurses and doctors on duty, demanding the body of a baby believed to have been stillborn.

The police arrested three of them when they went to the hospital to restore law and order.

The names of the suspects arrested have been given as Ousman Mohammed, 25; Sadat Mohammed, 30, and Ahmed Mohammed Baba, 38.

The baby was allegedly stillborn to Madam Swabia Abdul-Mumin on Wednesday, February 5, this year. 

However, the body, which was supposed to have been sent to the mortuary by the mortuary attendant, was rather picked up by a cleaner who had gone to tidy up the ward on that day. 

Not satisfied with the explanation given by the hospital officials, the youth of the Zongo community stormed the ward, chanting slogans such as “Ye pe yen funu”, meaning “We want our corpse.”

They beat the medical staff and vandalised tables, chairs and files of patients at the ward, a development which brought operations at the ward to a standstill. 

The young men who, according to some of the security personnel of the hospital, were well built and hefty, forced their way through the security post at the entrance to the ward and managed to invade the place to accomplish their mission.

The medical staff on duty had to run helter-skelter to save their lives, with some of them having to take refuge under some of the beds at the ward.

It took the swift intervention of the Rapid Deployment Force (RDF) of the Ashanti Regional Police Command to prevent the violent attack from degenerating further. Arrest 

When the Daily Graphic got to the scene, there was heavy police presence on the premises, with most of them stationed at the entrance to the Maternity Block.

The Commander of the RDF, Superintendent of Police Mr Chris Klomegah, told the Daily Graphic that at 8:30 a.m. they had information on the said attack and quickly mobilised to the scene. No comment

The management of the hospital has, however, refused to comment on the latest development. 

The Chief Executive Officer of KATH, Professor Ohene Adjei, said the priority of management was to ensure the safety of the staff and normalise activities, adding, “We will not want to play up the issue in the media.”

According to the Ashanti Regional Police PRO, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Yussif Tanko, the police were yet to take statements from the nurses on duty at the time of the incident.

He said the hospital authorities had assured the police that they would avail the staff to the police to take their statements before the end of the week. Background

On Wednesday, February 5, this year, a baby boy was stillborn but the body, which was supposed to have been sent to the mortuary by the mortuary attendant, was rather picked up by the cleaner who had gone to tidy up the ward on that day.

The cleaner, Baba Abeley, claimed to have picked up the box containing the body of the baby and two others and sent same to the incinerator for burning.

However, according to Mr Kwame Frimpong, the Public Relations Officer of KATH, the last time the incinerator was used was January 31 and February 1, 2014, for which reason the assertion by the cleaner could not be ascertained.

He said the assertion by the cleaner compelled the hospital authorities to hand him over to the police.

Besides, disposal of bodies “is the work of the mortuary man and not the cleaner”.

He said the normal practice with a neonatal death at the hospital was that the body was usually wrapped in a plastic bag and labelled with the name of the mother and the baby’s weight and time of death and kept at the mortuary for some time before “they are given mass burial”.

According to Mr Frimpong, in most of the cases, “80% of the families do not care about what happens to the bodies. Once they are told their baby is dead, they don’t ask of the body”.

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