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Opinions of Monday, 31 March 2014

Columnist: Daily Post

It is a lie, the baby was burnt

Caught between the devil and the deep sea concerning
the best way out of the missing baby saga at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital
(KATH), attempts are being made by some faceless persons to bring the matter to
a close by alleging that the baby was born dead and that a labourer at the
hospital accidentally burnt the baby together with medical trash. This claim seems
to have been accepted by the Ministry of Health; sources say it is captured in
their report to parliament.
This, of course, is an obvious lie! The baby was not
burnt with medical trash. It is a criminal lie because it attempts to cover up
a crime; a crime of stealing a baby whether he was dead or alive.
It was made clear right from the beginning of this
saga that the baby’s body was not accidentally burnt with medical trash as the
midwives on duty had claimed during initial investigations into the matter. The
hospital authorities came out to assert that their incinerator which is used in
disposing of medical waste had not been in use for five days, including the day
the baby was born.
Of course the attempt has been made to lay the blame
on the fragile shoulders of a labourer at the hospital who was alleged to have
disposed of the body of the child by burning it together with trash. But the
labourer, Baba Asibi, who was arrested, placed in custody and is currently on
bail has stated clearly that his hands are clean in the matter. While we cannot
vouch for his innocence, it is interesting that he is the only one who has been
arrested in this matter. What about the midwives and nurses who are part of
this drama?
The ‘Daily Post’, is aware that no member of Suwaiba’s
family has been shown a copy of the document she allegedly thumb-printed when
she was cajoled into accepting that her baby had died soon after delivery.
Secondly, no document has been cited in which a medical
doctor certified the death of the baby. A person especially on admission at a
hospital or a newly born baby can be said to have died ONLY after a doctor has
certified the death. That was not so in the case of Suwaiba’s baby. No doctor
certified that the baby is dead. Yet,
the public has been fed with the claim that the baby is dead and sadly, even
the Ministry of Health which should know better is accepting this claim.
Thirdly, answers have not been provided as to why the
midwives on duty who helped deliver the baby did not notify the doctor on duty
when they could not detect the presence of the heartbeat of the child before
delivery as they claim.
A doctor at the KATH told this paper that when the fetal
heart beat of a baby in the womb of the mother cannot be detected, it either
means the baby is under distress in which case an emergency operation is needed
to save his life or that the baby is dead in which case it can only come out of
the mother through induction. It goes without saying therefore that if the
midwives did not detect the presence of the heart-beat of the baby, they will
immediately notify the doctor on duty. Did this happen, granted without
admitting that the midwives could not detect the presence of the heart-beat of
the baby during labour? It is worth noting too that contrary to the claim of
the midwives, the doctor on duty says he detected a fetal heartbeat of the
child, recording 142 heartbeats per minute before the child was delivered!
Another question which is yet to be answered is why the baby
was placed on the chest of the mother after delivery if he was born dead. The
Public Relations Officer of KATH, Kwame Frimpong,
told several media houses when the saga broke out that it was standard
procedure for a baby born dead to be placed on the mother’s chest. This, of
course, is a palpable lie, one of the many churned out by the hospital for
reasons not difficult to fathom. A midwife at the same hospital who pleaded anonymity
for obvious reasons told this paper that it is never standard procedure to
place a child who dies before, during or after delivery on the mother’s chest.
“It will be inhuman of us to do so. The standard procedure
is to place the child on the mother’s chest for bonding purposes if the child
is ALIVE. If the child is dead, then what is done is to inform any of the
relatives who is at the hospital or the mother herself and then after the
necessary documentations, discuss with the family how to dispose of the body.
Often, it is what the family decides that is done” the midwife said.
The lies from KATH concerning the missing baby is becoming
one too many for obvious reasons.