A 34-year-old man who allegedly posed as a physician assistant for close to two years and attended to an unspecified number of patients has been arrested in Tema.
The self-proclaimed medical practitioner was arrested after the managers of the St Martins Robert Children’s Clinic at Community 18 tried to authenticate his certificate.
He is said to have been working at the clinic on a locum basis since April 2014.
The managers of the clinic were working on regularising the services of the suspect, Joseph Sowah Masopeh, who is said to have acted as a doctor for about a year during the absence of the resident doctor at the St. Martins Robert Children’s Clinic.
Masopeh, who was arrested while working in the consulting room, is said to have performed a variety of procedures, including diagnosing and prescribing medication for patients.
The Medical and Dental Council, Ghana, found out that the certificate of registration as physician assistant which was presented by the suspect was fake.
According to Dr Eli Kwasi Atkins, Registrar of the council, it was found out that the suspect had tampered with the certificate of a registered physician assistant identified as Aaron Denkyi Ankomah.
Though the certificate had the same number, MDC/PA/RN/ 02037 and the same date of registration, the suspect is alleged to have substituted the original certificate owner’s name with his.
A copy of the certificate, which was sighted by the Daily Graphic, also showed that while the suspect purported to have been trained as a physician assistant at the Radford University College in 2012, the original certificate indicated that the owner was trained at Narh-Bita College in 2012.
A stethoscope was retrieved from the suspect, while copies of the forged certificate as well as the original certificate have been given to the police by the council.
The Tema Community 18 District Police Commander, Assistant Superintendent of Police, Mrs Faustina Agyeiwaa Andoh-Kwofie, told the Daily Graphic that the suspect, who was currently being interrogated, claimed he completed a three-year physician assistantship course with the Radford University College in 2013.
“He is yet to receive his certificate from the university but had applied for a job at the St Martins Robert Children’s Clinic with a copy of his transcript and the forged certificate,” she said.
According to the council, after their training, physician assistants and doctors must pass an examination conducted by the council after which they would be issued with practising certificates.
“The suspect claims he had attempted writing the council’s examination but was not successful,” Mrs Andoh-Kwofie said and added that in his statement to the police, the suspect had indicated that he had worked with Mother of God Hospital located at Ashaiman and also been an intern at the Rafar Medical Centre.
She said the suspect told the police that he was frustrated after school when his search for a job proved futile.
According to Mrs Andoh-Kwofie, the suspect said he obtained the forged certificate through another physician assistant whom he only identified as Richard after they met during an extra classes session organised for physician assistants by the Narh-Bita College.
Section 48 (d) of the Health Profession Regulatory Act, 2013, stipulates that a person who practises or professes to practise medicine or dentistry or receives payment for the practice of dentistry or medicine without being registered commits an offence.
Such a person, the law states, was liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less than 1,000 penality units and not more than 10,000 penalty units or a term of imprisonment of not more than 20 years or to both.
In the case of a continuing offence, a further fine of 10 penalty units is to be imposed on the offender for each day during which the offence continues after written notice has been served on the offender personally by the council.
A penalty unit is GHc12.
Source: Daily Graphic
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