Dead twins: Couple demands justice as Health Ministry goes silent over investigative report

General News of Sunday, 13 August 2017



The couple claim Health Ministry has been unresponsive to their appeal to have a copy of the report

A couple who were denied justice by the state when they lost their twin babies at the Tema General Hospital in 2010 as a result of negligence have renewed their unanswered petition to the new Health Minister, Kwaku Agyeman Manu, demanding answers and respect for their right to bury their deceased babies.

The petition was copied to the Medical and Dental Council, as well as the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ).

According to the couple, maternal health officials told them that one of the twins was born macerated – something that was yet to be explained to them – while the second twin baby was delivered dead through caesarian session after 14 hours of failures and inaction on the part of the midwives, anaesthetists and doctors.

Couple asks whereabouts of corpse

Sadly, the couple say they did not even get the opportunity to bury their twins as the bodies were sent to Korle Bu Hospital for autopsy and they never heard from Tema General Hospital nor the officials of the Ministry of Health, although the couple wrote directly or through their lawyers for answers.

Dr Kunbour’s probe

The corpses of the babies were sent to Korle Bu as part of investigations instituted by the then Health Minister, Dr Benjamin Kunbour when the couple petitioned him.

No feedback since 2010

The couple, Mr and Mrs Amankwah Addo, said after losing their twins on November 4, 2010, they are yet to receive answers to their questions, let alone some compensation.

Admitted on November 3, 2010

According to Mr Addo, he drove his wife to Tema General Hospital on November 3, 2010, and the midwife who had been attending to his wife throughout the pregnancy confirmed that the twins were alive as of 1 pm.

He explained that his wife, Mrs Adwoa Sarfoa Addo, was admitted by 2:30 pm on the same day.

First baby born alive in five minutes

He stated that “within five minutes of admission, the head of our first twin baby popped up” and the wife delivered the first twin baby by 3:00pm on a labour ward bed which she climbed herself whilst in labour and pain”.

According to him, the first baby was shown to the mother while the heartbeat of the second unborn twin was checked and confirmed to be alive.

5 Hours of no action

Following the confirmation, he said Mrs Addo was left to lie down on the delivery bed for five good hours – from 3pm till 8pm on the same day, November 3, 2010 – before contraction started again.

Pressure cup inserted

Mr Addo stated that at this point, a pressure cup was used in an attempt to bring out the second baby.

“By 11pm when the pressure cup had clearly failed, my wife is left alone again till 4am the next day (Nov 4, 2010).”

Baby and mother tortured for 14 hours

“After the pressure cup failed to pull out our baby and both mother and baby had been tortured because this second baby was wrapped with umbilical cord, and pulling it caused my wife excruciating pain.

“In her words, sir, my wife said…’I was dead, my soul was tired and had suffered. I vomited and felt goose bumps. I knew then that I was not going to live anymore’”, he added.

Anaesthetist called at 11:30pm

Mr Addo explained that when it was discovered that the pressure cup failed at 11pm, an anaesthetist was called on phone at 11:30pm on the Nov 3, 2010 and she asked for the hospital ambulance to come pick her up since it was late in the night and she lived outside the hospital and had no car.

He said when the anaesthetist did not show up after some time, a midwife telephoned her again, and she said she was waiting in her home for the ambulance to come and pick her up but the vehicle never showed up.

No fuel in ambulance

He noted that Mrs Addo, who was in pain, overheard one of the nurses saying the ambulance driver said there was no fuel in the ambulance.

Mrs Addo endured pain from 11:30 on November 3, 2010 to 4am of November 4, 2010 when the anaesthetist arrived to prepare her. She was then sent to theatre and finally underwent the Caesarian session.

Dr Kunbuor petitioned

“Upon our petitioning, the then Health Minister, Dr Kunbuor instituted an investigation.

“In a letter with Reference No MOH/GAD/9002, we were informed of this investigation, in writing. Subsequently, we met some representatives of the Ministry of Health in December 2010.

“They bought us ‘Papay?’ fried rice and simply asked us to be hopeful for other babies.

“We nonetheless presented our case and insisted on the investigation to know the cause of death; the manner of harm that was negligently done our babies at birth; which harm resulted in their death and the time of their death.

“We further reminded the Health Ministry’s reps that we would also like to privately pay for a pathology test when they are done with the bodies of our babies and their investigation.

“We, however, never heard of the results, if the investigation was done at all. On 30th May, 2011, we caused our lawyers (Akufo Addo Prempeh & Co) to write to the Ministry of Health/Ghana Health Service (GHS) to obtain results of the investigation,” he added.

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