Doctors Fight Minister Over Missing Babies

The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) has kicked against the directive by the Minster of Health, Sherry Ayittey, asking for two health officers at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) to proceed on leave.

According to the GMA, the minister has no mandate to direct the medical doctor and the matron on duty when Suwaiba Abdul Munin delivered the disputed missing baby, to proceed on leave and refer them to their respective professional bodies, the Medical and Dental Council and the Ethics and Disciplinary Committee of the Nurses and Midwives Council of Ghana, for investigations on their professional conduct.

General Secretary of GMA Dr. Frank Serebour, told Citi FM last night that Ms Ayittey lacked the locus to give that directive. “The Ministry cannot micro-manage the hospital,” he said.

According to Dr. Serebour, the doctor in question was not invited by the committee set up to probe the missing baby saga, which turned out that four other babies could not be accounted for in the same way Suwaiba’s baby could be found.

He said since KATH is a semi-autonomous health institution, the board and management are responsible for daily activities at the facility, and wondered why the minister was intervening.

Ms Ayittey had given the KATH authorities 14 working days to produce the babies dead or alive.

Suwaiba, who gave birth at the health facility on February 5, 2014, was said to have lost the baby minutes later without seeing the body, raising furore at the hospital.

This led the Health minister to set up a committee to probe the missing baby. The committee unearthed a lot of wrongdoings, including disappearance of four other babies under similar circumstances.

Suwaiba, according to the Minister, stayed at the hospital for five hours at the labour ward, but the midwives did not record any foetal heartbeat. The doctor on duty was said to have constantly recorded foetal heartbeat before she gave birth at about 3:50 am on February 5.

“Throughout the whole process, we realized that there was a lack of communication between the doctor and the midwives,” the committee reported.

Meanwhile, doctors at KATH have vowed to work according to international standards, which require that each doctor attends to only three patients a day.

It follows the Health Ministry’s warning that it would sanction negligent staff of the hospital who played a role in the case of the missing baby.
KATH Committee

In a related development, the Management of Komfo Anokye has set up a five-member committee to investigate the circumstances leading to the death of a patient, Solomon Mensah, on February 14, 2014, after his referral to the hospital on February 12, 2014.

The terms of reference of the committee are to investigate the circumstances that led to the death of Mr. Mensah and to establish whether there was negligence on the part of the staff in the handling of the patient.

A statement released in Kumasi on Friday disclosed that the committee was expected to make appropriate recommendations to management in line with its findings.

Mr. Mensah, 46, is said to have been admitted for strangulated hernia but was not operated upon as expected.

Members of the surgical team which admitted the patient and other staff members are expected to appear before the committee to give evidence. It has up to March 10, 2014 to submit its report.