37 Military Hospital Fined GHS1,075,000 For Negligence

The 37 Military Hospital has been slapped with a fine of GHS1,075,000 for negligence that claimed the life of a 27-year-old woman during childbirth in November 2015.

The General Jurisdiction six Division of the High Court awarded the father and husband of the deceased GHS400,000.00 each for loss of expectations of life; GHS50,000.00 in damages of mental distress andm, GHS100,000.00 to the baby, Yaw Nyamekye in damages for pain and suffering.

The court also awarded GHS50,000.00 to Yaw Nyamekye in damages for disfigurement; GHS50,000.00 in damages to primary caregivers and additional GHS25,000 in damages.

The deceased, Helena Brema Nyamekye, a PhD student at the University of Ghana at the time of the incident, is said to have opted for a caesarean section as her preferred mode of childbirth, however doctors at the hospital denied her the option and put her through normal labour.

In the process, the late Mrs. Nyamekye bled profusely at the theatre and died and her baby, Yaw Nyamekye, also suffered a deformity to his right arm upon delivery.

The husband of the deceased, Captain Nyamekye (Rtd), and the father of the deceased subsequently sued the hospital for damages for loss of life, trauma and negligence, as well as general damages.

In their defence, doctors argued that Mrs. Nyamekye had earlier agreed to a vaginal delivery upon medical advice, but changed her mind and opted for a caesarean section.

According to the defence, the request for a CS came rather too late, and the doctors could not have done otherwise.
The court however found from the evidence that the request for a CS was made on the morning of November 11, 2015, and could not have been said to have come late.

Trial Judge, Justice Kwaku Tawiah Ackaah-Boafo, noted that the Hospital did not provide any “plausible or reasonable explanation” as to why the request for a CS was not met.

He also observed that though experts in the field knew what was best for the deceased, there were no doctors or house officers during Mrs. Nyamekye’s labour to review the process and so no proper monitoring was done on her in the process.

The deceased also suffered High Blood Pressure in her lifetime, and the doctors admitted that she bled to death.

According to Justice Ackaah-Boafo, “her death was a preventable one”.

“The only logical conclusion the court ought to come to is that the deceased died out of injuries caused her.”

He also observed that blood that was requested to the theatre during the process, and was subsequently delivered, had not been used in the procedure.

The judge, subsequently, concluded that the doctors and nurses on the patient were negligent in the discharge of their duties.

The 37 Military Hospital, the judge said, is liable for the negligence of its staff that resulted in the death of Mrs. Nyamekye.

Justice Kwaku Tawiah Ackaah-Boafo lamented the increasing cases of lack of attention in the country’s medical facilities and admonished that health caregivers, like drivers on the road, must be attentive to duty and discharge their burden with the best possible care.

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