A doctor at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital and his accomplice have been busted for diverting patients attending the facility to private hospitals in the Kumasi Metropolis. They were arrested by the internal security, after allegedly indulging in the practice for close to ten years.
A Senior Specialist, Dr. Edmund Kojo Mensah Turkson, together with his accomplice, Fred Agbezuge, have been handed over to the Bureau of National Investigation (BNI) and the police respectively, after being arrested by the hospital’s Head of Security, Mr. Ernest Young.
The suspects were arrested after Agbezuge tried to convince a son of one of the patients to attend a private clinic, instead of KATH.
The modus operandi, according to information available to The Chronicle, is that Fred will approach stranded and frustrated patients with a message that things were not going on well at KATH and that he (Fred) knows a better way that the patient can secure quality healthcare through a private medical facility.
Fred will then link the patient to Dr. Turkson, who is a senior Specialist at the Accident and Emergency Unit, who will then send the patient to a private clinic, Ellen Clinic located at Tech, thus depriving KATH an opportunity to make enough profit to take care of the hospital.
Aside linking patients to Dr. Turkson, Fred, who admitted operating underground at the hospital for the past ten years, also assisted patients to acquire services such as x-rays and laboratory tests and then share the booty with some staff yet to be identified.
In this latest case which he admitted and pleaded for clemency from hospital authorities, he was on the verge of assisting the son of a patient, named Atta Kofi, whose father was critically sick and wanted immediate medical assistance for him.
According to information pieced together by the paper, Fred as usual approached Atta Kofi, who was in a queue at the Polyclinic and offered to help him acquire immediate medical attention with ease.
He then took Atta Kofi to see Dr. Turkson at his bungalow in the morning and the Senior Specialist also asked Fred to go along with Atta Kofi and his father to the said private clinic at Tech, to wait for him, since he was on duty at KATH that same morning.
However, the Chief Security Officer, Mr. Young bumped into Fred and Atta Kofi whilst on their way from Dr. Turkson bungalow and enquired where they were coming from.
It was then that Atta Kofi narrated the incident to the Security Head who then accosted Fred and handed him over to the Chief Executive Officer of the hospital, Prof. Ohene Adjei.
Upon heated interrogation, Fred confessed to operating long years with Dr. Turkson, whom he said, he had known and been dealing with for the past ten years.
He however pleaded for clemency from management and CEO of the hospital as it was the only way he thought he could survive having been rejected on several occasions by the hospital on his attempt to join the security detail.
“I know what I have been doing is wrong but I needed to survive; I am not a thief, what I do is to assist the patients by directing them to Dr. Turkson who then sends them to Tech, and take care of them, at the end of the day, the patient gives me some tips which I survive on, ” he narrated amidst sobbing.
However, during initial cross examination of the two suspects, Dr. Turkson appeared adamant, insisting he only gave assistance only once to Fred, who had brought his relative to him for assistance.
“Occasionally, he brings people to me that they are his relatives and I prescribe drugs for them, that’s all,” Dr. Turkson initially stated, but upon further probe he admitted to operating at a private clinic at Tech, a suburb of Kumasi, which he said belongs to a friend.
He further denied directing Atta Kofi to his private clinic, but this was vehemently denied by Atta Kofi, who insisted that Dr. Turkson was lying, stating that he had even instructed his sisters to proceed to Tech as at the time the interrogation was ongoing.
The Chief Executive Officer of the hospital, Prof. Ohene Adjei, then ordered the Security Head to hand Fred over to the police and the Bureau of National Investigation (BNI) for further investigations, adding that Dr. Turkson would also be referred to BNI and the police if need be.
Prof. Ohene Adjei, however, pointed out that the hospital’s own internal mechanisms would also be used to discipline Dr. Turkson, in line with the rules and regulations.
He said such acts amounted to serious crime, adding that apart from denying the hospital the required money needed to run the facility, it also puts patients at risk as most of them may not be able to pay for the medical bill at these private hospitals.
“What happens is that when some of these patients who come here with their NHIS cards are diverted to go to the private facilities, they may not be able to pay physical cash and what then happens – they can die. This is more than armed robbery,” he lamented.
He said the situation had also contributed to the dwindling of revenues as monies that were supposed to be acquired by the facility through patients’ attendance were not being received.
The Head of the Medical Department, Dr. Baffour Awuah, also said the situation was very worrying, adding that his office constantly receives such reports of patients’ diversion, but could not secure evidence to take decisions.