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General News of Monday, 29 August 2005

Source: Graphic

Disaster strikes Korle-Bu

... 3 Top Doctors Perish
Three prominent Ghanaian doctors were killed last Saturday in the latest highway fatality on the Bunso-Apedwa stretch of the Accra-Kumasi road.

Professor J.M. K. Quartey, Dr. Isaac Bentsi and Dr. Benjamin Osei Wiafe, all of the urology Department of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, perished in the road tragedy that claimed eight lives on the spot.

The three urologists were part of a medical team returning from an outreach programme at the Sunyani General Hospital, when an unidentified saloon car crashed into their Nissan Patrol car. Another doctor, George Kluffio (pictured) of the same department and the driver, whose name were not immediately provided, survived the accident.

Five other persons in the saloon car died on the spot.

According to an eye witness account, as the two vehicles approached the point of the accident, the two front tyres of the saloon car exploded. It then veered off its lane and crashed into the Nissan Patrol vehicle. A matron of the accident centre of the hospital, Ms. Asante had to pay ?200,000 to fuel a private ambulance before the victims could be transported to the hospital. Those who carried the bodies into the ambulance also collected ?100,000. All the vehicles on the road which were stopped to carry the victims allegedly refused, by ignoring the signals and pleas for assistance.

The head of surgery, Dr. Rudolph Darko refunded the ?300,000 to Matron Asante and gave an additional ?200,000 to the driver of the ambulance and those who brought the bodies to the hospital. Prof. Quartey had been on retirement for many years but due to the shortage of urologists in the country, he had been providing medical services to complement the efforts of the urologists at the hospital. Dr. Bentsi was also on retirement but until his untimely death, was on contract at the hospital, while Dr. Osei-Wiafe was one of four urologists in active service.

Until last Saturday, Dr. Osei-Wiafe had been organizing doctors and other Christian health professionals to undertake public education on the need for preventive health care in churches and communities in Accra.

Prof. Quartey was the first head of department of Anatomy of the University of Ghana Medical School and one-time chief administrator of the hospital. He was recently made a life member of the Anatomy department during its 41st anniversary celebration of the department.

The chief executive of the hospital, Prof. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng described the demise of the three as a great loss to Ghana.

"We do not have enough urologists in the country. Only God knows why it should happen this way. I cannot just imagine the loss," he lamented.
Mr. Mustapha Salifu, the public relations officer of the hospital, explained that under the outreach programme, specialist doctors were sent to various hospitals to provide specialists treatment for patients to avoid the situation where patients requiring specialists care had to travel to Accra to be treated. He said the specialist treatment covered all the other areas, including eye, ear, nose and throat (ENT) obstestrics and gynaecology.