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04.12.2006 Health

Korle bu ‘killing’ hospital

By dailyExpress- Xoese DOGBE
Korle bu ‘killing’ hospital
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The country's foremost referral and teaching hospital, Korle bu is gradually becoming a 'killer zone' as activities at the hospital gradually grinds to a halt. Many avoidable deaths are occurring with medical staff getting increasing concerned.

With the central laboratory, the surgical and gynecology departments closed down or non-functioning, both patients and medical staff have been complaining about the worsening conditions at Korle bu.

While the busily campaigning presidential aspirant & chief executive of the hospital Professor Frimpong Boateng and his team will expect that supposedly negative information about developments at the hospital be kept under wraps, a visit to the hospital last week by the dailyEXPRESS revealed that the hospital is in serious crisis.

An attempt by the medical doctors to bring to the fore the problems confronting the hospital some days ago was met with a strong rebuke from the Professor Frimpong Boateng led management, effectively banning all medical staff from making any public statements about the state of the hospital.

What can however not be denied by the hospital and the health minister is the fact that the medical staff are working in dire situations, effectively putting the lives of the thousands who patronize the hospital at risk.

During our rounds at the hospital, it was confirmed that many lives have been lost at the Gynecology department because they lack an X-ray machine to assist in determining what kind of operation is needed by a patient. Staff of the department say, suffering and pregnant patients must go elsewhere for the scan and bring the results to Korle bu.

But in a number of cases, dailyEXPRESS learnt that by the time they come back with the results to the department, the pregnancy outside the womb would have ruptured resulting in death. Interestingly, the department was part of projects recently commissioned by the president.

Korle bu has meanwhile shut down its Central laboratory, and the reason according to word on the street is because the unit lacks a 200 volt capacity stabilizer. The old stabilizer according to a radio report on JoyFM got burnt as a result of the load shedding exercise and management has since failed to procure a replacement.

With the lab closed, patients have to go for lab tests elsewhere, resulting in what a JoyFM reporter described as the practicing of Jungle Medicine at Korle bu. This is because the doctors base their treatment on lab results that patients bring from outside the hospital, which are sometimes unreliable.

Medical staff at the hospital are particularly intrigued about these developments because the Central laboratory is noted for its high revenue generation potential, raking in millions of cedis every day. According to some workers, they are surprised the hospital is unable to replace the stabilizer.

These are not the only problem areas, the children's ward is suffering from low and irregular supply of oxygen, while their x-ray machine is faulty. To make matters worse, the emergency children's ward is almost always overcrowded with not less than 3 children sharing a bed in most cases.

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