January 18, 2022

Wife dies in Ambulance as husband’s inability to pay for fuel delays her transfer

A 31-year-old woman Augustina Awortwe has lost her life in an ambulance after undergoing a caesarean session at the Holy Child Catholic Hospital in Fijai after her husband’s inability to fuel the ambulance at the hospital to transport her to the Korle Bu Teaching hospital in Accra.

John Obiri-Yeboah, the husband of the deceased narrating the incident in an interview, indicated that his wife had reported to the hospital on January 3 expecting to give birth on the Tuesday January 4, 2022. He said after leaving his wife in the care of her sister at the hospital he left for his house at Shama Junction.

According to Mr. Obiri-Yeboah, “I was there when the sister called that my wife’s situation had become critical and they were preparing to transfer her to Korle-Bu , so I was surprised, a few minutes later I received a call , I think it was the Ambulance Service team asking where i was and I told them I was at Shama Junction , which they asked me to wait and later picked me”.

He said after joining the ambulance en route to Korle-Bu, upon reaching Assorkor Essaman” they asked for 600 cedis to buy fuel, and I told them I don’t have such an amount on me.”

He said he suggested to the ambulance team to cater for the refueling of the vehicle and later add the cost to the medical bill. He said the team refused and had to stop the ambulance for a while at Assorkor Essaman, but he later managed to provide them 50 cedis which they used to purchase fuel.

However, instead of continuing the journey to Korle-Bu, they returned to the hospital at Fijai. Mr. Obiri Yeboah said as they returned to Fijai the medical team could not understand why the ambulance had returned which became an argument between the medical team and the ambulance team, but later the hospital provided the money to purchase the fuel.

This he said delayed the journey for close to thirty minutes, until they finally set off for Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra at around 6pm Tuesday evening.

He says while on the journey, as they reached Elmina in the Central Region, the team informed him that his wife’s condition was becoming critical that needed immediate medical intervention; they then suggested to send her to the Cape Coast Teaching hospital.

He says upon reaching the Cape Coast Teaching hospital, even before his wife could be sent in for the said medical intervention, one of the personnel from the ambulance team informed him that his wife had died.

He is therefore blaming his wife’s demise largely on the delay by the ambulance team and is prepared to seek legal redress.

Meanwhile, when contacted on phone to ascertain what had happened at the Holy Child Catholic Hospital, the hospital’s administrator Deborah Ayeley explained they cannot divulge any information about the incident to Empire News due to the Patients’ Charter. She said any such request must be a police request.

The Regional Administrator of the Ghana Ambulance Service is however denying that the death was caused by a purported delay due to a demand for money to refuel the ambulance.

Explaining to Empire News in a phone conversation, Frank Bafo Manu explained that when a distress call came from the Holy Child Hospital for an ambulance to be dispatched to convey the now deceased to Accra, the Sekondi Ambulance was available and was immediately dispatched with her en route to Assorkor Essaman to pick the husband.

He explained that due to the Christmas Festivities and the duties the ambulance undertook, fuel was low and since Monday January 3, 2022 was a holiday the following Tuesday, January 4th, when the distress call came, the ambulance was yet to be refilled so it was stated that money will be provided by the husband.

When they however picked him up at Assorkor Essaman, he said he was without funds to refuel the ambulance. He said it was then also that a call came from Holy Child Hospital that there is need to come for the day-old baby to be with the mother during her treatment since they could not determine how many days she will be away.

As a result the ambulance returned to Holy Child Hospital for the baby from Assorkor Essaman and therefore the claims that the mother of the baby lost her life due to unusual delay over lack of money for fuel is unfounded and not factual since Holy Child Hospital had agreed to fund the refuelling after the request was made to them after the husband said he had no funds for the venture.

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