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Hearts Stop For Sacked Surgeon   
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The effect of what has generally been described as a dangerous goof by the blundering administration of Prof. John Evans Atta Mills in sacking the Director of the National Cardiothoracic Centre, Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, is that life-saving operations at the Centre have grounded to a halt.

Life at the centre has virtually come to a standstill, with doctors, nurses and para-medical staff failing to perform their life-saving duties. Yesterday, the centre turned away patients and refused to perform any surgery, except emergency cases.

A notice conspicuously displayed at the entrance of the Centre read: “The Cardiothoracic Centre is not providing services to the public until further notice. We will inform the public when the centre is open.”

Parents of children, who are due for surgery as at yesterday, expressed their disappointment and frustration at the turn of events at the Centre.

One of the parents, whose son was suffering from a hole-in-heart condition, and was due for surgery yesterday, prayed for the President to intervene and to save lives at the Centre.

“Please tell them [doctors] we beg them. We are told if the senior doctor (in reference to Prof. Boateng) does not return, our children will be left here like this, but the health of my child is very dear to me,” she said, almost in tears.

In another ward, a parent, whose daughter had already undergone surgery, told The Chronicle that the child was being accorded the needed care. “Despite what is going on, the nurses came and attended to us. They have done all that is expected of them. For me, my son has already been operated upon, what is left is for them to remove the stitches, If they go on strike, who will remove the stitches for my child? We are pleading with them to resolve the issue as quickly as possible,” she pleaded

A patient, who was due for surgery yesterday, was spotted by The Chronicle in a red band, apparently in protest against the confusion at the centre.

“This is going to be my third operation, and on each occasion, Prof. was there for me. This time, I have heard that he has been sacked. No one is telling me anything, and I am disturbed,” he told The Chronicle.

A resident surgeon at the Centre, Innocent Adzamli, explained the rational for not undertaking any surgery yesterday. “We are not doing any surgery today, and the reason is that we are disillusioned. We are not in the right frame of mind. You can imagine somebody who is not in a good frame of mind taking a knife to cut you. It is not very safe,” he told The Chronicle.

Just at the entrance to the Cardio centre, in the early hours of yesterday, was an ambulance in which a patient was being attended to, because the centre would not allow the patient in. Those inside the ambulance seemed to create the impression that the patient was in critical condition.

An unconfirmed report indicated that the person might have passed away. That was unconfirmed, though. At a press briefing after a meeting of senior doctors at the centre, an explanation was offered that their action had become necessary as a result of the general agitation of staff at the centre, which it deemed unsafe.

“The present troubled and agitated mood of the staff of the Cardiothoracic Centre does not provide a safe environment for the performance of complex and delicate heart procedures on patients.”

On August 24th, 2011, the Minister of Health, Mr. Yieleh Chireh, wrote to Prof. Frimpong-Boateng terminating his appointment as Honourary Director of the National Cardiothoracic Centre with immediate effect.

The reason for his removal, according to the Minister, was in view of Prof. Frimpong-Boateng’s transfer from the Ministry of Health to the University of Ghana Medical School.

In response to the Minister’s directive, the staff of the centre, in a letter dated 26th August, 2011, petitioned President J.E.A. Mills to revoke the Minister’s decision.

The staff argued that the basis for the dismissal was fraught with gross inconsistencies, as virtually all Heads of Departments at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital were also staff of the University of Ghana Medical School.

They further argued that at present, Prof Frimpong-Boateng was directing the next generation of leaders at the centre in an effort to expand the current facility to manage the increased national demand on the centre, and thus see the directive as unwarranted and unfortunate.

They noted further that Prof. Frimpong-Boateng, almost single-handedly, established the Centre, and also trained most of its current staff, motivating them to stay and work locally.

In the light of these facts, the staff consider the termination of Prof. Frimpong Boateng’s appointment as “direct subversive of national interests, and a disincentive to the patriotism of Ghanaians, both locally and abroad.”

Staff say dismissal of Frimpong-Boateng “is subversive of national interest”
Source: The Chronicle

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