‘No bed’ excuse by hospitals real, not cosmetic; Joseph Kpenka shares touching story

Source: Ghana | Myjoyonline.com | Jerry Tsatro Mordy | Email: jerry.mordy@myjoyonline.com | Twitter:@jerrymordy | Facebook:@jerry tsatro mordy
Date: 12th-june-2018 Time:  11:45:32 am

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A legal practitioner almost abandoned his desire to serve his constituents by representing them in Ghana’s legislature, after he watched the life of his beloved wife slip through his hands painfully on September 6, 2016.

Joseph Dindiock Kpemka, a prominent lawyer, was travelling to Nigeria to participate in a religious service at the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN), when his wife suddenly suffered a stroke.

All major health facilities in the capital he drove his sick wife - Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, 37 Military Hospital, Nyaho Medical Centre, The Trust Hospital and finally to the ultramodern Ridge Hospital - all refused to admit and administer treatment to the patient because “there was no bed”.  

At the nation’s premier facility, Korle Bu, a nurse on duty who met them outside the emergency ward told them there was no bed without even seeing the patient.

For six hours, Mr Kpemka shuffled all these ‘big’ medical facilities and even went on his knees begging medical staff at the Ridge Hospital to even admit her on the floor and start a treatment just to save the life of his dying wife.

Money, was not the problem for the 43-year-old legal practitioner but at that stage, every second that passed, was a moment of nervousness for him. 

He remembered that he had the contact of the administrator, a certain Dr Anaaba so he placed a call to him and the administrator directed staff to admit the patient.

That was in the sixth hour of the patient’s battle for her life.

He was asked to run a CT scan but the result proved the “situation was beyond recovery” and when the news was broken to him that his wife had passed on, he lost consciousness and fell into a coma.

His beloved 39-year-old wife, fought, struggled and gave up the ghost on September 7, 2016, after the staff of some of the nation’s plush-looking health facilities failed to even use Shepherd’s sling to fight off her condition.

When he regained consciousness, he realised he was in VIP facility which had three other beds empty yet the same people could not offer one for his wife who needed it most making him wonder if it was worth keeping him there. 

“I can tell you that it’s a sad reflection of our healthcare in Ghana,” he narrated on the Super Morning Show on Joy FM Tuesday.

Shedding tears and struggling to contain his emotions momentarily, Joseph Kpemka, shared the pain of losing his wife, similar incident to what happened to a 70-year-old last week. 

For Kpemka, the refusal by seven hospitals to offer the old man a bed is just a replay of his nightmare two years ago.

Health authorities say they have launched investigations into the circumstances that led to the death of Anthony Opoku-Acheampon.

Read: Probe into death of 70-year-old denied hospital bed begins

“What we have put up in edifices of first class health facilities, are complicit in murder,” Kpemka stated.

Kpemka said he had decided to put his political campaign on hold following the devastating blow dealt him by the death of his wife. 

However, after seeing how well the funeral was attended coupled with an encouragement he received from watching a religious programme on television, he laced his boots and continued his campaign.

On December 7, 2016, exactly three months after his wife’s painful death, Joseph Dindiock Kpemka won the Parliamentary election to represent the people of Tempane in the Upper East Region, an achievement he would have loved to celebrate with his late wife.

He is now Deputy Attorney-General in the government of President Nana Akufo-Addo and he plans to immortalise his wife by forming a foundation to cause a change in the health system. 

“It is real, it’s not cosmetic,” he declared, adding, the ‘no bed’ excuse is “is the modus operandi of many of these referral facilities”.

Kpemka revealed, he is currently preparing a paper he would lay before Parliament as part of the process to re-orient health professionals and get them to change their attitude to healthcare delivery.

Listen to Joseph Kpemka’s narration in the following interview with Daniel Dadzie, host of the Super Morning Show:

Below are comments sent to the Super Morning Show programme by some listeners:

Good morning Daniel and Friends, my husband had an accident somewhere in Kukurantumi 14 years ago. The good Samaritan who took him to the government  hospital at Koforidua was told they do not accept emergencies on weekends. This was an accident victim who was unconscious and bleeding to death. The man then took him to the St. JOSEPH hospital at Koforidua... they told him they cannot accept the victim because the only doctor on duty was having a surgery... at this point Mr Kuranchie the good Samaritan badged into the theatre amidst shouts and resistance. In the theatre he realised the doctor on duty was his mate at Knust... that was the life saver for my husband. He was attended to and only gained consciousness several hours later. 
What would have happened if this man didnt badge into the theatre... and went with their so called phrase ' we cannot attend to emergencies on weekends'... our systems have failed!!...Priscilla in Teshie

Hmmm...in 2007 i was attacked by robbers. My left palm was slashed with a machete and i was bleeding profusely. I required medical attention immediately. I was rushed to Holy trinity hospital where i was referred to Korle-Bu. Luckily for me i had my phone and was able to make some quick calls to some high profiled friends i had...in no time, news spread about my attack because i was a media personality, working at metro TV. When i got to Korle-Bu, same chorus...no bed! It took the intervention of my high profiled friends in government to fly calls. Subsequently, i got a VIP ward at the accident centre and later sent to the reconstructive plastic surgery and burns centre for surgery. Thanks to Dr Laing and Dr Ampomah, i have recovered but the scare is this visible on my mind.  aaah Ghana. If i knew nobody, only God knows what would have happened to me. It's sad and i weep for my country...Famous Kwesi Atitsogbe.

My wife was due to give birth, she was referred to Ridge Hospital, immediately we got there we were told there are no beds, I laughed out loud and the nurse on duty asked why, I responded by saying there are no laws in Ghana even if there are laws it's meant for the poor.... then she also laughed out loud and said I'm coming, in less than five minutes my wife got a bed and was treated like a queen till she gave birth. I gave the said nurse breakfast, lunch and transportation fare back home throughout the period my wife stayed there.

 

Yes I have had similar experience at Korlebu and lekma Emma from  bastonaa

 

Daniel, a neighbor died in my car at Macharty Hill Hospital in 2017, he was diagnosed in the car and we all watch him pass on, Yaw of  Kasoa

 

Good morning guys, with my family experience at ridge hospital and eventually losing our dad, I can say with conviction that we need MoH to get their act together - we are dying needlessly in Gh. Majority of nurses at these hospitals have developed a culture of bribery. If the late 70yr old¡¯s family had given mere C20 to a nurse, I bet a bed would be found. I can¡¯t believe no emergency treatment was given to this patient on a stretcher at A&E of any of these hospitals. Very sad.  Nana, Spintex rd

Good morning Daniel...who regulates and monitors the services of these hospitals. A lot of these clinics and hospitals shattered across the country are a waste of everybody's time. Even the major hospitals struggle to provide any good services... How much these one man clinics. As for nurses, the least said about them the better... Stevoo

Daniel...in other countries, hospitals do something called bed management and there are bed managers who make sure that patients who are medically fit to go home do not unnecessarily occupy hospital beds. In Ghana there are patients who are still occupying beds because they have not paid their hospital bills and therefore cannot be discharged

Driver-jackson: Daniel good morning to you. This no bed situation in Ghana is very bad. We have problem even to see a Dr. to tell you what is your problem too is another problem. Just visit ridge hospital with your wife and see. My name is Jackson in cape coast

 

 

 

 

From Dr Abedi Kwadaso aka Big Joe shoes. Good Morning Champion Host, This thing 'no-bed' in our hospitals started not today. It started years ago! Although it's sad to lose someone like that, it’s a shame to Ghana. It's unacceptable and needless death that could have been prevented. Authorities should be ready to answer questions. My condolences to the bereaved family.  Hi to Rev Samuel Mensah of Krofrom CAC, Mr Ekow Inkoom of Christ Apostolic University and Zhivkov Mohammad of Adukrom

From Paajoe of Big Joe shoes near Kwadaso onion Market. Good Day Boss, The health ministry together with the government must be up and doing. We have a very poor health system in Ghana here. This thing has been in Ghana for a long time but the media only wait for the unfortunate to happen then they pick that for their news !  Hi to Mr Amoah of MOKAP microfinance near m Pub, Oyibo Boateng of Nerebehi and Iceman of Kwadaso

 

My father was someone who barely falls sick, and growing up, I never saw him to the hospital for about thirty years. When he got sick last, we took him to the Ridge Hospital and finally to Korle Bu. At Korle Bu, he made a comment to the doctor and I quote, "How I'm feel, I need to be admitted." The doctor replied by saying, I quote again, "When you people get sick and your families can't take care of you, you just want them to come and dump you here."

 

Sadly enough, my dad died the following day when we were rushing him to Korle Bu again.

 

Sampson

 

Good morning Daniel. I'm Dr Katherine Attoh, Tema General Hospital.

 I am very ashamed of the health workers who turn away patients and say "no bed" when really they have beds, that's cruel! But trust me, that's in the minority! Have we looked at the situation where there are really no beds available to admit patients? Kindly research the number of beds available in the emergency rooms in each of the referral facilities here in Accra! The numbers are woefully inadequate. Sometimes we health workers are helpless, we leave our homes to work yet can't work because we don't have beds and other equipment! Please, let's look at our systems before we blame health workers. If systems are put in place, health workers can work better. We have treated patients in chairs, on the floor and on stretchers which is unacceptable!

The situation is scary for us all because if I pass out in public right now, no one will know I'm a doctor and I'll also suffer "no bed" syndrome!

 

Please  the issue  of no bed  you don't  no body which  is very  very  bad. And some of the health workers   must be transferred to another region.

 

It's a shame! I had the same experience in 2006. I was rushed to 37 Military hospital, they said no bed, then to Alpha Medical Centre, where I was stabilized, and then they said they were going to refer me back to 37! My PA sister-in-law took me home and nursed me back to health!

 

Qobbi, Madina.

 

WALANYO IN AKWATIA

The passion of our health workers is no more in Ghana Health Service but only go to training and come for their guarantee jobs. So pathetic and inhumane attitude of some is becoming too contagious. The Ghana Medical Association must not hesitate to revoke those involved license bcos it is against their code of ethics and conduct so far as the wellbeing of human life is concerned.

 

DD, yes this things can work, but why are we still having such problems? It¡¯s not a new problem.

 

My friends, I blame those who had these experiences and let them go. When Ghanaians start to taking legal actions against doctors and medical facilities, they will change. Thanks.  From Ken, Abu Dhabi

 

Good morning Daniel, my wife was in labour from Thursday till Saturday before she was operated upon but by then the baby was weak. My wife survived but the baby did not. This happened in 10th may 2010 @ Nsawom government hospital. (Emmanuel in Kumasi)

 

I will suggest that Nurses should be given name tags just as our soldiers and police men.

What do they think they are there for to gossip and joke around?

My mum was a nurse (midwife) she was so kind that sometimes she will call me at home to quickly get food bring some of my clothes to her patients who were in need.

E.D from Prampram

 

Hi, we need to redirect the Ursula Owusu money to buy bed and fix our hospital. We should also speak to all Heath officials. They are too cold. Thanks

 

Daniel I admire the way Ray is going on n on, but you see what we have done to ourselves as a nation, as community n as a family. You see where '' the whom you know Syndrome' has taken us? Hamm...... Pat, Ampomah near Ashiyie

 

Daniel, we simply live in a country with a broken health care system. My late brother who was an orthopedic and trauma surgeon used to say that in this country, if you fall ill and you don't have money, you will simply die. He himself fell ill and died 3 months later at Korle-Bu in 2005. At a stage he had to treat himself even though he was bedridden because no one would attend to him.

It is a sad state. There are so many cases like these and it's clear we are doing nothing about it. We are a country that defies logic and reasoning, it's that simple.

Richie from Osu.

 

Daniel, I live in the UK and when you get to A&E, the issue is not if there is a bed or not. You go through triage and sometimes the call siting time is 2 hours before you are seen by a doctor that is if you case is not life threatening. It looks like in Gh the first thing is the availability of the bed rather than the state in which the patient is. Does NO BED mean bribe me??? How are these medical personnel trained? We really need to change our mindset about everything we do in Gh. It really cuts across most sectors. Go have mercy. – Fred

 

Good morning, Daniel.

 

I had a similar case at ridge but this time around, we had a bed through an Anty who was a midwife.

 

My wife got a bed, doctors attended to her and we were given a list of medicines   to buy, when we got there, the pharmacist has been on phone for about 15min.

I told him the matter was an emergency and he boldly told me because of my wife she shouldn't make calls, it took the doctor himself to got us the drugs from the pharmacy as he rushed in to speak to the pharmacist.

 

I.am Israel

 

Good morning Daniel and Friends, my husband had an accident somewhere in Kukurantumi 14 years ago. The Good Samaritan who took him to the government hospital at Koforidua was told they do not accept emergencies on weekends. This was an accident victim who was unconscious and bleeding to death. The man then took him to the St. JOSEPH hospital at Koforidua... they told him they cannot accept the victim because the only doctor on duty was having a surgery... at this point Mr Kuranchie the good Samaritan badged into the theatre amidst shouts and resistance. In the theatre he realised the doctor on duty was his mate at Knust... that was the life saver for my husband. He was attended to and only gained consciousness several hours later.

What would have happened if this man didnt badge into the theatre... and went with their so called phrase ' we cannot attend to emergencies on weekends'... our systems have failed!!

 

 

Good morning Daniel. I'm Dr Katherine Attoh, Tema General hospital.

 I am very ashamed of the health workers who turn away patients and say "no bed" when really they have beds, that's cruel! But trust me, that's in the minority! Have we looked at the situation where there are really no beds available to admit patients? Kindly research the number of beds available in the emergency rooms in each of the referral facilities here in Accra! The numbers are woefully inadequate. Sometimes we health workers are helpless, we leave our homes to work yet can't work because we don't have beds and other equipment! Please, let's look at our systems before we blame health workers. If systems are put in place, health workers can work better. We have treated patients in chairs, on the floor and on stretchers which is unacceptable!

The situation is scary for us all because if I pass out in public right now, no one will know I'm a doctor and I'll also suffer "no bed" syndrome!

 

Hi Daniel, now are we to take our beds or mats to the hospital whenever we are going there? Oh Ghana! Lord have mercy. SMH! Shirley.

 

Dadzie and the super morning team, don't pretend you are never aware of the lack of beds in our major hospitals in Ghana. My father went through a very bitter ordeal in korle bu. If your discussion will bring no lasting solution, you better stop the discussion. As a nation we have always educated ourselves into imbecility because nothing works in Ghana. Solomon from latetbiokorshie

 

What the doctor is saying may not work because sometimes you know that the Medical situation cannot be handled by the primary facilities and they will eventually refer you. Why would you therefore waste your time for the primary facility? Jojo Pantang

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