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Opinions of Saturday, 12 March 2016

Columnist: Daily Guide

Doctors’ negligence

In one of the wards at the Sunyani Government Hospital, a Class Two girl is battling to stay alive, her situation occasioned by the inefficiency or even negligence of some doctors at the facility.

After she was diagnosed with appendicitis, her surgical procedure was poorly handled by the doctors, whereupon the post-surgery stitches gave way and required further procedures.

She has emaciated so terribly that her mother is suffering stress of major proportions after spending so much money to reverse the girl’s situation. She watches helplessly as her daughter’s situation aggravates daily.

There are others with similar stories about how medical facilities, rather than deliver them from their predicaments, have rather worsened them.

Priscilla Pomaa of Chiraa Primary School in the Brong Ahafo Region has undergone four surgeries to correct the blunder, all to no avail. Now the doctors have given up, claiming they have exhausted their stock of knowledge in managing the situation. This, for us, is unacceptable because they could have referred her to another hospital outside the region—possibly the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital.

We condemn the negligence, and if you like the mismanagement of the girl’s plight, which has led to her current near-death situation.

There is no talk about an enquiry by the hospital authorities to isolate inexperience or even poor management of little Priscilla’s situation on the part of the doctors at the Sunyani health facility.

How come the post-surgery stitching was not done properly, leading to the opening up of the cavity and the subsequent complications?

It is time doctors are held responsible for negligence leading to complication of the conditions of patients, who come to them for treatment.

As referred to earlier in this commentary, many patients have suffered undue troubles and even deaths through the negligence and poor management by doctors.

Such victims, for want of where to go for redress, live with their sometimes irreversible conditions which expedite their deaths in some instances.

It is our wish and prayer that little Priscilla survives her predicament even as the doctors have somewhat given up on this hope, the cause though attributable to them. What happens next?

We wish the Ghana Medical and Dental Council take up this issue with a view to obviating a recurrence.

We live in a country where some doctors would not even have the time to explain issues to their patients, let alone field relevant questions.

When questions are posed by anxious patients, doctors—not all of them of course—get edgy, unprepared to give answers. In the end patients, in some cases, are unaware of what the doctors’ diagnoses are.

We are not doctors and would not pretend to be but the little girl’s condition was avoidable, and so somebody should be held responsible.