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Killing in the name of ‘no bed’ must stop

GHANAIANS HAVE over the years complained bitterly about the inhuman practice of turning away dying patients because ‘there is no bed’ in one hospital or the other.

This wicked practice has led to the loss of many lives and will continue to claim lives if nothing is done to turn the tide.

We have complained about this bad practice for many years, but nothing good has come out of it. It is therefore time to stop complaining and act.

We need to act to stop this nonsense of health professionals crudely turning away critically ill persons because ‘there is no bed.’

Sometimes, first aid could stabilise a patient, but health officials would have none of that ‘because there is no bed.’ This is clearly unacceptable and must stop.

It is for this reason that the DAILY HERITAGE agrees with the Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Mike Ocquaye who has called for laws to criminalise the turning away of patients by health professionals under emergency situations.

The speaker’s comments come on the heels of the death of a 70-year-old man who was refused treatment for lack of bed by seven hospitals in Accra.

“And nobody can come and tell me that this is a domestic matter. Go and explain to the police. These laws have not been there from beginning of time and people take advantage. I would want honorable Members of Parliament to analyse these areas. What are the gaps that allow people do these things to our people?

“But actually, there must be specific laws on specific mischief that we consider as Members of Parliament that worry and bother our people and these are the matters for private members’ bill to enhance the parameters of the law and protect our people even more,” the Speaker noted.

“The law is not as adequate as we sometimes think. In other countries, I know they specifically provide for such matters. And we should look at our own provisions as to issues like this. No public hospital, no medical person employed in the public owned facility shall refuse to attend to a person who’s brought in an emergency situation to a public hospital, and that’ll be an offense and a crime.

“In fact it is very easy to associate that with manslaughter. The essence of it is negligence. So you will know that when such a person dies you this doctor or nurse you are going to be charged.”

We agree that criminalising this bad practice is the surest way to stop the canker and compel heath officials to do their work well and save lives.


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