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37 Military Hospital slapped with GHC1m in damages over maternal negligence

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The General Jurisdiction 6 Division of the High Court presided over by Justice Kwaku Tawiah Ackaah-Boafo, has awarded GHS1,075,000 in damages against the 37 Military Hospital for negligently causing the death of a 27-year-old woman during childbirth almost six years ago.

Ruling on the November 2015 incident, the court awarded the father and husband GHS400,000.00 each for loss of expectations of life; GHS50,000.00 each for mental distress, GHS100,000.00 to the baby, Yaw Nyamekye, for pain and suffering and another GHS50,000.00 for the resultant disfigurement suffered by the baby.

Also, the court awarded GHS50,000.00 to the child’s primary caregivers and an additional GHS25,000 in damages.

Helena Brema Nyamekye, a PhD student at the University of Ghana at the time of the incident, requested CS for the birth of her child but the doctors insisted she had vaginal birth.

She bled to death during the delivery.

The victim’s husband and father jointly sued the hospital.

During the hearing, the doctors argued that the CS request came too late after Mrs Nyamakye had agreed to vaginal delivery.

The doctors however, took her through normal delivery causing her to bleed profusely leading to her death.

This also affected the baby who suffered a deformity in the right arm.

However, the defendant in its case said the father of the deceased opted a virginal delivery and it was in the case of delivery that the plaintiff sent a text message for CS.

The defendant further argued that, the time the request was made for the CS was too late but according to the court it was however, revealed in court that the CS request was made on the morning of November 11, 2015.

Presiding judge, Justice Kwaku Tawiah Ackaa-Boafo, in his opinion said, virtually all the doctors agreed the death was preventable but did not suggest any solution.

In the opinion of the judge, the hospital had no “plausible or reasonable explanation” for denying the CS request, adding that the young woman’s death was “preventable”.

“The only logical confusion the court ought to come to is that the deceased died out of injuries caused her”, Justice Ackaah-Boafo said.

The hospital, he noted, was responsible for the negligence of its staff.

He stressed, “many of the decisions made by the hospital were wrong.”

He added, Helena Brema Nyamekye would have been alive if the doctors had taken the necessary measures in carrying out their duties.

The defense witnesses, Justice Ackaa-Boafo, said were not truthful to the court on matters leading to the death of the Helena Nyamekye.

All the doctors he said, “failed to take personal responsibility and it was unacceptable.”

The court also found out that, “there was no doctor or house officer to review the process and so no proper monitoring was done on the deceased.”

“It became very clear that she was not properly monitored of what she was going through until she gave birth and later bled to death.” The judge added.

The court said, the hospital owed the deceased and the plaintiff duty of care and whatever happened suggests that a clear case of negligence has been established

The deceased he said lost a lot of blood after delivery. “It cannot be disputed that the deceased lost over 1.5 litres of blood.” He said.

The judgment of the court stressed, “no proper plan was put in place to monitor her.”

No blood was available according to the court for transfusion and even after a request was made at the theatre, the blood was not used.

“She was not properly monitored and by not making blood available was reckless and negligent and unacceptable not to use the blood available.” The court stressed.

Justice Ackaa-Boafo, advised that doctors and specialist should take a relook at how mothers lose their lives needlessly and put in measures to prevent avoidable deaths.

The plaintiffs sought three reliefs these are; damages for loss of life, damages of trauma and negligence and general damages.

Source:\Louis Gyamerah

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