Tongues are wagging at Battor Roman Catholic Hospital in the North Tongu District of the Volta Region over how authorities there, allegedly, ordered the burial of newly born and alive twins of a 21-year-old woman, Gifty Eso of Mepe Traditional Area.
The harrowing incident, which occurred on Thursday, November 14, 2013, has since created “cold war” between the family of the grieving mother, on one hand, and on the other, the nurses and doctors at the Maternity Ward of the hospital.
According to family sources, the nurses and doctors of the hospital, on the fateful day, packaged in a key-soap box the twins they had certified dead and handed the box to the family for burial.
However, while washing the twins to ready them for burial, the family members performing the undertaker job discovered that one of them was alive, a source told the Today newspaper.
All attempts to save the day-old twin proved futile as it was pronounced DOA – dead on sending – to the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH) where they had been referred to seek further medical attention.
In an interview with Today, the spokesperson for the Eso-family of Gbavie-Divisional Clan of Mepe, Mr. Felix Eso, popularly known as Plovoo said Gifty was home when she went into labour and the pangs increased. She was thus rushed to the hospital on November 14, 2013.
On arrival, he said, the Senior Nursing officer in-charge of the maternity ward, one Mrs. Perfect, asked Gifty to walk into the maternity ward. That was in spite of the intense pain Gifty was in and the availability of a stretcher at the ward to aid the mobility of expectant mothers, he observed.
According to Mr. Eso, Gifty had great difficulty moving and was slow, and then her water break and she suddenly delivered on the hospital floor. One of the twins crashed its head on the concrete floor and died instantly, narrated Mr. Eso.
He told this paper that the nurses and doctors hurriedly, presuming both twins to be dead, packaged them in a key-soap box and handed them over to the family to take home for burial.
Upon realizing that one of the twins in the box was alive, he narrated, the family quickly rushed back to the Battor Roman Catholic Hospital.
“Surprisingly,” Mr. Eso said, “one of the nurses of the hospital told us they would not at any point in time re-admit the baby, because, she claimed, the baby could not survive, because it was a premature baby…”
The most irksome fact, according to Mr. Eso, is the fact that when they reported the uncaring practices of nurses that resulted in the death of the twins to the hospital Matron, Mr. Cosmos Agbodza, and Administrator of the hospital, Mr. Donatus Duncan Adeletey, they did not treat the complaint with any seriousness.
When "Today" reached him, Mr. Cosmos Agbodza denied the allegation out-right and explained that he has devised proactive measures to refer the matter to the authorities of the hospital for redress.
The Senior Nurse, Mrs. Perfect, however admitted that she was aware that the nurses of the hospital have given the dead bodies of the twins to the family to be buried.
She explained that “at the time that we presented the babies to the family to be sent home for burial, they were not alive.”
But, the senior nurse was quick to add that: “I was not present at the time that the dead bodies were presented to the family finally to be sent home. But I knew that all the babies were dead before I left the ward.”
Flanked by Mr. Adeletey and Mr. Agbodza, Mrs. Perfect said when Gifty was brought to the hospital, her condition was very critical, and she sought assistance of doctors – whose names she only mentioned as Mr. Kumasah, Mr. Effah and Mr. Wiredu – to help deliver the babies.
She said during an examination conducted on Gifty, the doctors pointed out to her that her babies could not survive because her pregnancy was just five months old.
“My doctor indicated to me that the only way they could do that was to save the life of Gifty. And which the doctors did,” Mr. Perfect added.
Mrs. Perfect said even that was after “we had realized that Gifty did not know the months that she would deliver her baby.”
She therefore called on pregnant women to do early antenatal registration and regularly attend ante-natal clinic as a sure way to safe pregnancy and delivery of healthy babies.
To this end, Mrs. Perfect called on the public, in particular people of Battor and its adjoining communities in the region, to treat the allegation with contempt and advised residents in the area to desist from criticizing the works of the nurses of the hospital.
The hospital administrator, Mr. Donatus Duncan Adeletey, and the Matron, Mr. Cosmos Agbodza delved into the matter and noted that the decision of the nurses to direct the family of the twins to Korle Bu Teaching Hospital was as a result of lack of adequate incubators at the hospital.
According to the two top officials, for lack of incubators when the hospital has babies or children with breathing challenges and need resuscitation, they are often compelled to rush them out to other medical centres for expert attention.
They expressed the hospital’s readiness to re-look into the matter.
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