31.08.2005 Feature Article

Prof. J.K.M Quartey & Others- My Tribute

Prof. J.K.M Quartey & Others- My Tribute
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The medical industry worldwide has lost important Ghanaians in the profession. Ghana has a few Urologists practicing within the country. It is so sad that they and five others die so painfully through a motor accident. In the mean time, please observe a moment of silence before you read this article for our loss. The earlier stage of this article is a tribute to Prof. J.K.M Quartey, an emphasis on road safety and lastly extending our condolences to the families of all who died in the accident. Prof. J.K.M Quartey is a renowned Urologist, distinguished elderly gentleman, world class, well traveled, proud Ghanaian, tireless human being in the world medical industry and one of the best Ghana has to offer. In the year 2002 at the Urologist Association of America (UAA) convention, I represented my employer, a medical publisher. During the first day of exhibition, I recognized this elderly African at the exhibition hall sitting down in an isolated area glancing through some leaflets he has taken from the exhibition. I went to him, greeted him and asked if he was a Ghanaian and he replied in the positive. He introduced himself as Prof. Quartey, head of department of Anatomy of the University of Ghana Medical School, I introduced myself as a Ghanaian and representing my employer, Taylor & Francis. He was very happy to see another Ghanaian at the convention and I mentioned to him that we have some specialized books in Urology and other areas which might be very interesting to him so he should stop by my booth. The second day of the convention, he stopped by the booth/stand as promised. He went through numerous books on stand which interested him and in our conversation, I told him about my book project with Ghana Cyber Group (GCG). I went further that there were many boxes of journals that my employer had donated to me in my office, ready to be shipped to University of Ghana Medical School but I had been looking for someone to help me on the receiving end. Prof. Quartey immediately said he will take care of any assistance needed. He showed me pictures of a project he had undertaken in Ghana and how he had been looking for assistance for specific urological equipment for the project. We parted ways at the end of the convention. To make a long story short, Prof. Quartey received the various books/journals shipped to him in Ghana from me and directed them to the library at the Medical School in Korle Bu. In early January, 2003, I flew to Ghana on my vocation and while there, I called Prof. Quartey on his cell phone and because of his usual busy schedule and traveling, he was unavailable to meet me and so directed me to another person at the medical school library to see the books/journals. I went to the library and the contact person showed me all the boxes of journals that were shipped to them. The shipment of books/journals was a dream which became a reality. Although I am not an alumnus of that school but with my employer's effort and assistance of Prof. Quartey, I also contributed a little. It was a proud moment for me indeed. At the age of 82, the man continued to sacrifice his life to make a difference. Dr Mathew Kyei of the Urology Department said; "It is terrible a man (of Prof. Quartey's age) could die a tragic and violent death," "We never anticipated such a death. He could have died peacefully” GNA
The morning of Aug. 29th was a sad moment for me as I read the headline; "Disaster Strike Korle Bu" and in a haste to read what happened as my heart kept pounding;Three prominent Ghanaian doctors were killed last Saturday in the latest highway fatality on the Bunso-Apedwa stretch of the Accra-Kumasi road. Professor J.M. K. Quartey, Dr. Isaac Bentsi and Dr. Benjamin Osei Wiafe, all of the urology Department of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, perished in the road tragedy that claimed eight lives on the spot. The three urologists were part of a medical team returning from an outreach programme at the Sunyani General Hospital, when an unidentified saloon car crashed into their Nissan Patrol car. Another doctor, George Kluffio (pictured) of the same department and the driver, whose name were not immediately provided, survived the accident. Five other persons in the saloon car died on the spot.- GNA
We have lost the best Ghana has to offer and my heart goes to the families of Professor J.M. K. Quartey, Dr. Isaac Bentsi and Dr. Benjamin Osei Wiafe, all of the urology Department of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital . . AN EMPHASIS ON ROAD SAFETY TO AVOID SUCH INCIDENTS We must put a spotlight on the number of accidents which has been happening in Ghana especially on the Accra/Kumasi road and even when accidents occur, where is the emergency service to help if any? How many ambulances available to respond to Accidents immediately and transport those injured to the nearest hospital. Many accidents occur on the same Kumasi to Accra road. The road is not 100% constructed and each and everyday accidents happened. It is very dangerous to drive in Ghana. I thought driving in New York and Philly was dangerous but even those areas are constantly being monitored by the police. Who do we blame for many car accidents in Ghana? Is it drivers who don't obey the regulated speed limit, do we have the police to monitor such dangerous habits. Many drivers must learn to become defensive drivers; preventing themselves from being hurt by others in an accident and also prevent themselves from hurting others. There are many drivers who don't respect the regulated speed limit; they drive like they are on a race track. The government must really do something to prevent many accidents or many of our great men and women would be lost in that manner. Do we have any emergency response team in many villages? This is a challenge to all 230 MPs to solicit for funds to acquire fully equipped state of the art medical emergency vehicles which will come to the aid of victims. Sometimes at accident scenes the question of life and death could rest solely on a little first aid assistance. Just like the Police department has been provided with cars to do their job effectively, the Minister of Health, Captain (Rtd) Quarshigah (I hope he will read this) must make sure that there are many ambulances available at every village. This will help the personnel to do their job effectively. The world is moving forward with time so we must all do likewise. His ministry has lost three important personalities at the expense of another victim. When the accident occurred, where was the designed ambulance if any? It is a sad moment. Moreover, It is absurd and ludicrous for a private ambulance company to charge in a matter of life and death, ¢200,000 to fuel a private ambulance. Some of us value money over death. As a registered and structured business, the private ambulance should be prepared to do a job before getting paid. The company should rather help in assisting the bodies to the hospital first and afterwards, issue an invoice for services rendered. That is how a business should be run or else it becomes an irrational business. Also another saddest thing heard from the incident was that; Those who carried the bodies into the ambulance also collected ¢100,000. All the vehicles on the road which were stopped to carry the victims allegedly refused, by ignoring the signals and pleas for assistance. How heartless are some of us Ghanaians? We value money over death and some people don't give a damn as long as it never occurred to them. "Etua wo yonko a etua dua mu". We have to help when it comes to a matter of life and death. We must not ignore because it might be YOU one day and let us see how it will feel when such behaviour is demonstrated. YOU WILL DIE JUST LIKE THAT BECAUSE NO ONE HELPED YOU.
I take my hat off to America when it comes to the issue of accidents. I have witnessed many road accidents over the years and whenever those occurred, many vehicles including mine which witness such incidents would stop and call 911 immediately or make sure the driver and passengers needed any assistance. We must emulate such behaviour and think that we are all Ghanaians regardless tribe or class.
The same commendation applies to the people of New Jejeti, Ghana exhibiting such humanitarian gestures at the scene of a tragic accident sometime during the late eighties in which my cousin and myself were casualties of the accident. (Vehicle rolled over many times). Once again we are grateful to the people of New Jejeti in helping to save our lives.
I sympathized with the chief executive of the hospital; Prof. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng describing the demise of the three as a great loss to Ghana. "We do not have enough urologists in the country. Only God knows why it should happen this way. I cannot just imagine the loss,".
Finally, we should also not forget the five others who died in the accident. Even though the doctors are getting the media attention, they deserve a mentioning. They left many loved ones behind who are wondering what to do next. Our hearts and prayers also go to their families.
This is a deep pain that all Ghanaians must feel. MAY THEIR SOULS REST IN ETERNAL PEACE
Charles Nimmo N-Mensah aka Mr. CNN Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

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