Feature Article of Sunday, 4 March 2012

Columnist: Kwadzo, Adika

Tema General Hospital: An Ailing Hospital

I have never considered myself a friend of the Tema General Hospital, and my outrage swells whenever I visit that health facility in Tema, my colleague and I have had the occasion to register our discontentment to them hoping it will reach management via their suggestion box, clearly, that as usual was never meant to be. I ones vowed to die in the hands of a quack herbalist than subject myself to such inhuman treatment meted out to patients at the hospital both by the systems and some individuals, but like they say only fools don’t change their minds, so I rescinded my decision – in fact dying men have few choices.
It boggles my fickle mind to think that a hospital with some of the finest medical practitioners on earth today, experiences avoidable death of patients as a result of sloppy systems. As long as I can recall, the hospital hardly gets into the news for any good reason - the most recent being about adventurous mice feeding on corpse at the mortuary. The last night I spent at the hospital’s recovery ward was next to death, the fans were dysfunctional and the few moribund ones in operation were squeaky loud, the floors reek of head blowing staunch, the few beds available were wobbly, and mega size mosquitoes also had a fair share of my weakling body, not to talk of the perennial water shortage with no contingency arrangement whatsoever.
When I recuperated, a TGH van pulled up in front of my stationary shop, and a primly dressed young man stepped out to buy some stationary after which he requested I inflate the price on the receipt. Cognizant of the boomerang effect of this act I proudly refused his request. I have had many dear ones die at this hospital whose life may have been saved but for the lackluster attitude of some staff and the slothful pace of acquiring anything from card to lab. The maternity ward is an eyesore; lactating mothers keep a standing vigil at the Sick Babies Unit because there are not enough chairs to sit on. I don’t want to believe they’re expecting the government to supply them with ordinary benches.
I am not ignorant about akin situations across the country, my stint at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital abundantly evince such similitude, however, what makes the case of the TGH peculiarly infuriating is for several years, the TGH had no functioning washroom at the Out Patient Department, so they decided to have mercy on our wretched souls and renovated the old one quite recently, but that was not without the usual pathetic events that bedevils anything at the TGH, beforehand males and females shared the female washroom, as if that was not enough, yesterday on my visit to the washroom to pee a woman stopped me on my way and requested I pay twenty Ghana pesewas, I was too pressed to start an argument so I quickly hurled the money at her and rushed in, on my way out I was greeted by a sorry cite of the woman raining caustic vituperation on a poor aged man ostensibly for refusing to pay.
The woman does not issue receipt or ticket for the money she takes neither does she provide us with soap and water to wash our hands, so where from this charge and what is it for? Need I remind managers of the TGH that a washroom at the OPD is a necessary and sufficient condition for an OPD and a hospital at large? Why won’t they start charging us, immediately we walk into the OPD? Can you imagine if all facilities you visit decide to charge you for using their washrooms or imagine an illness wrecked person trying to access the washroom at the OPD and being turn away for not having money. Why lock a washroom in a place as sensitive as the OPD and insist on payment before releasing the keys to patients, this is unacceptable and must stop now. No patient or visitor must suffer this congruent maze of sustained incompetence and mismanagement anymore, enough is enough! How come other private health facilities in the Tema metropolis with lesser resources and part time health practitioners seem to be doing much better than a hospital with government support, public sympathy and internally generated funds?
Nobody wills to get ill, and whenever we visit the hospital it’s not for the pleasure of it, we expect to receive healing not to return home with more complex health issues and tones of unpalatable diatribe from some insolent nurses.
Adika Kwadzo