An expectant mother and her baby girl died as a result of alleged undue delay by doctors and lack of logistics at the Family Health Hospital in Teshie, a suburb of Accra.
After 10 months of waiting for the arrival of a baby girl, the first for Mr. and Mrs. Isaac Dzabatey, a recently-wedded couple, it was not to be as they lost the baby in the most traumatic of experiences in spite of the doctors’ promise that both mother and baby were safe.
When The Finder newspaper met the distraught husband at the hospital yesterday, he was shuddering as he narrated the story. Mr. Dzabatey, 33, said he brought his wife Ophelia, 30, to the Family Health Hospital after she had prepared a meal for him and some friends on Sunday, and after she had complained of symptoms of labour.
He said they arrived at the hospital at 8:30 am and a nurse admitted her, adding that after examination, she had to undergo a caesarian session to save both the mother and child. “They said my wife and the baby would be fine but they had to do an operation quickly. I agreed and then they left for the room,” he said.
According to him, he waited till 12:45 pm before the doctor returned from another operating room. He said they were charged GH¢1,500 because they were not covered by health insurance which he readily agreed to pay instead of the GH¢1,000 if she had been insured.
“After a long wait, sometime around 4:40 pm – I know because I had checked my time around 4:31 – the same nurse appeared and said she wanted me to go and buy baby oil. I went to buy the baby oil and upon my return to the hospital, my wife told me that the doctor was still contemplating between a caesarian or normal delivery,” he said.
Mr. Dzabatey said he was surprised as he had agreed to the caesarean operation and wondered why a normal delivery was still an option when the doctor and nurse had already told him of complications in the choice of a normal delivery.
“I did not hear from them again till almost 5pm when the nurse said the doctor wanted to see me. The doctor insisted that he would only speak to me in the company of family members. I brought in two of my friends who were with me. The doctor then said after a while of ‘pushing’ my wife closed her eyes and passed away.”
He said the doctor admitted that it was at that point that he cut open his wife and removed the baby alive. “My baby was initially pit on oxygen because the doctor said she could hardly breathe. But after a while, they removed the oxygen and told me that they were waiting for an ambulance to transfer my baby to either the 37 Military Hospital or the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital,” he said.
According to him, the nurse told them that the doctor expressed fears about the survival of the baby after he had contacted the 37 Military Hospital and the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital.
Unfortunately, the two hospitals said they could not be of immediate help since there were no doctors available to save the child.
At about 5:20pm, his brother came to tell him that his daughter had also died, allegedly from lack of oxygen. “From that time, we looked for the doctor but the nurse said he had left. We were not told anything so we left the hospital after 7:00pm.”
The deceased, Mrs. Ophelia Dzabatey, bore the Family Health Identity card number P11101424. Her body and that of her daughter were released to the family with no explanation as to what caused their death till yesterday, some nine days later. As at press time yesterday, officials of the hospital were yet to explain the circumstances leading to the death of Ophelia and her baby girl.
When The Finder contacted the doctor, he explained that he was restricted by the ethics of his profession from disclosing the circumstances that led to their death without permission from the family. “The situation is unfortunate and has never occurred at this hospital, but I need to call the family before I tell you anything,” he said.
The doctor was also not ready to disclose to The Finder the circumstances that led to the death of the baby. When The Finder contacted the family members on phone, they said the hospital authorities had explained that Ophelia reacted negatively to a drug called “epidorial”, when it was administered to her, leading to her death.
They said the authorities blamed the death on inadequate antenatal records from a hospital in Ashaiman where Ophelia was transferred from. The family told The Finder that they wanted to know why as professionals, the doctors tried to induce delivery when indeed they had obtained permission from the family to conduct a caesarian session. “Why did they keep the baby for such a long time without oxygen when they knew she was delivered under stressful conditions making her weak at birth, are they not professionals, shouldn’t they know what to do at that time?” Mr. Dzabatey’s uncle asked.
The family said it did not intend to sue the hospital authorities but would rather use its tragedy as a warning to other potential victims of negligence and also serve as a wake-up call for doctors at the hospital.
Ophelia and her baby are yet to be buried.
Source: The Finder Ghana