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Health News of Friday, 17 September 2021

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Why your patient may have to wait for others at the emergency ward – K’Bu doctor reveals

This was revealed as part of details revealed during a tour at the emergency unit of Korle Bu play videoThis was revealed as part of details revealed during a tour at the emergency unit of Korle Bu

• Details have emerged about what goes on at the emergency unit of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital

• Some of these came to light during an interaction with the #GhanaWebRoadSafety campaign team

• A clinical coordinator at the unit explained why some emergency cases delay at the unit


Many times, patients complain about the ‘whom you know’ syndrome and how it appears to play to their disadvantage.

This is mostly because in instances where they rush their family members to the hospital expecting immediate attention, doctors put them on hold, whilst seeing to the cases of other patients who probably came after.

Sometimes, it purely is because of negligence on the part of health personnel, but at other times especially at the emergency ward, it is out of necessity.

Explaining why cases sometimes delay at the Accident and Emergency Unit of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, Dr. Bulley, Clinical Coordinator at the unit explained that cases are treated according to the severity as determined after checks.

Speaking to Wonder Ami Hagan in this edition of the #GhanaWebRoadSafety campaign series, Dr. Bulley explained that contrary to what is mostly expected, patients are treated on a case-by-case basis, rather than a ‘first-come-first-serve’ basis.

According to him, some patients may come in seemingly more excruciating situations with wailings and the likes, whilst others may come in quieter but may be in more life-threatening situations than persons who fall within the former category.

“When you enter the emergency ward we have the triage, where we take patients’ vitals, blood pressure, sugar level, the level of oxygen and assess the patient’s general awareness and put everything together and then it gives a colour code.

“If your colour is red, it means that even if you don’t have a bed, it is a life threatening case, you would have to sort out that patient quickly. Even if for that particular patient you all need to put the patient on the floor, all the staff would have to get onto the ground and take care of that patient, you will have to do it because there’s something that could cost the patient’s life and you would have to solve it. After that, we have orange and yellow, those ones have a time limit to be seen so you can find them a bed or an ideal place to put them before you go ahead.

"Here it is not 'first-come, first-serve', it’s based on the severity of the problem the person has but there’s a time limit for every colour that it must not go beyond that time and that person must be seen to.

Dr. Bulley, whilst explaining what happens at the emergency unit on a daily basis said that the case of every patient referred to the emergency ward is determined by objective values. These values are determined at the triage unit of the hospital by nurses.

“The values from the triage are very objective, if anyone else does the same test, they’ll get the same values so it’s not now like because I know the person, no. So sometimes you may even come and they’ve checked everything and they tell you to wait, maybe there are no beds or there’s a situation or something and then you realise they rush in another person, they check on the person too. The person may seem conscious but might have a life threatening issue so they may even attend to that person before your relative then people may tend to think there’s something going on, someone has crossed, etc. no, it’s not so."

Dr. Bulley however explained that regardless, every emergency case is treated as such, and patients with the various colours are allocated periods within which they must be attended to.

He also revealed some intriguing details about what goes on on a daily, at the emergency unit of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital.

There’s more in this video: