A 28-year-old woman, Abigail Cobblah, has instituted a legal action against the management of Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH), accusing them of negligence of duty.
This was after a broken cannula was left in one of her arms after she had been treated and discharged from the hospital.
In a suit filed on her behalf, lawyer for Abigail, Raphael Alijina, recalled how on or around March 2, 2016, his client who used to trade in fresh vegetables was admitted at the hospital on referral to give birth by undergoing a caesarean procedure and unfortunately lost her baby in the process.
To enable her undergo the caesarean section, he disclosed that in the statement of claim that the medical officer on duty inserted an intravenous cannula in the vein of Abigail’s left arm while she was on admission.
On March 4, 2016, the patient was said to have complained of discomfort with the inserted cannula in her arm, and when the nurse sought to remove the device from her arm, 2.5 centimeters of it got broken and remained in the arm.
From that day, counsel for the plaintiff claimed that the doctors on examined the folder and reviewed condition of his client periodically before she was finally discharged from the hospital on March 7, 2016, with the broken cannula still in her vein.
Having experienced what she described as “excruciating pain” in the arm, Abigail was reported to have returned to the hospital on March 24, 2016 for review and upon seeing the plaintiff in pain, the doctor on duty referred her to the plastic surgery unit of the hospital for a surgery to remove the broken cannula from her vein.
But, Abigail was said to have been asked to pay GH¢300 for the full surgery when she reported after the Easter holidays.
She was, therefore, said to have left the hospital reluctantly and returned on March 31, 2016 with the hope they would perform the surgery but, again, was asked to go and come the next day with the stated amount for the surgery to be performed.
With the pain becoming unbearable, Abigail reportedly caused her lawyers to write to management of the hospital to complain about the conduct of its officials but to no avail.
Having lived in the unbearable pain with the 2.5cm broken cannula in her vein for 32days, she finally underwent surgical procedure for removal of the cannula after paying for the full cost of surgery during which surgeons saw blood clots in what was described as fibrotic blood vessel which experts said could have led to her sudden death by pulmonary embolism.
As a trader, the plaintiff contends that before the surgery, she used to buy vegetables from Nsawam for distribution to her customers in Accra which earned her an amount of GH¢500 a week in profit and was able to take care of her four children and her aged parents.
After the surgery, however, Abigail claims she can no longer pursue her business to take care of these dependants as she intermittently loses concentration, suffers sudden forgetfulness, suffers continuous excruciating pain and attends several hospitals to consult specialists.
As a result, she has been compelled by circumstances to employ the services of a house-help who takes GH¢200 a week to take care of house chores, including taking care of her children; sending them to school, cooking and taking care of her aged parents.
She is, therefore, seeking to recover from the hospital the cost of her surgery, loss of earnings in trade, cost of third party to take care of her dependants, cost of physician specialist, psychiatrist, clinical psychologist and transportation costs, receipts of which she has indicated her readiness to produce in court during the trial.
Abigail is, therefore, claiming special damages, general damages for injury resulting from negligence of officials of Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, loss of earnings and cost of solicitors.
By Charles Takyi-Boadu