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Cases of medical negligence in Ghana on the rise

A patient-centered non-governmental group is leading a campaign to bring justice to victims of medical negligence in Ghana. According to the Ad

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A patient-centered non-governmental group is leading a campaign to bring justice to victims of medical negligence in Ghana.

According to the Advocacy for Medical Malpractice Victims, it has recorded 60% success in medical negligence suits brought against health facilities and medical staff.

This comes as the Ashanti Regional Directorate of the Ghana Health Service battles rising cases of lawsuits against health facilities and their medical staff.

Advocacy for Medical Malpractice Victims is made up of lawyers, doctors and other health professionals.

It has been championing justice for medical malpractice victims through the payment of compensation, promotion of high competence among healthcare givers, among others.

It receives and investigates between 25 and 30 cases of alleged medical negligence nationwide every week.

“The incidence of medical negligence so far as our organization is concern is on the high. On the average, we have a minimum of 25 to 30 cases coming through,” said Executive Secretary, Kwame Brobbey Appiah.

“We listen to the narrative of these patients, assess the complaints they come with and then we are able to make a determination of what to do to help them seek compensation or to seek justice,” he added.
Kwame Brobbey Appiah www.myjoyonline.com
Kwame Brobbey Appiah is Executive Secretary of NGO, Advocacy for Medical Malpractice Victims

Mr. Kwame Brobbey Appiah, said the organization is overwhelmed by the rising cases of medical malpractice.

“With respect to the high number of cases and huge amounts paid as compensation, I think it’s as a result of the awakening that has come to bear now because patients are getting empowered by the day; they are getting to know their rights as they also want to exercise their responsibilities and I think the more we keep on this trajectory, the health sector will sit up and then do the needful.”

His organization has a 60 percent success rate of reported but investigated cases.

“We have been very successful. I can say that on the average, 55-60 percent. So we’ve been successful and others too have been settled out of court,” Mr. Appiah said.
Dr. Emmanuel Tinkorang myjoyonline.com
Dr. Emmanuel Tinkorang is head of Ghana Health Service in Ashanti region

The work of Mr. Appiah’s organization appears to be impacting negatively on the Ghana Health Service as huge sums of money are doled out in compensation to victims of medical negligence.

“In the last 2-months, I have been on a crusade visiting all the health centers trying to see how best we can address the attitude of health workers as far as their work ethics is concerned,” Ashanti Regional Health Director, Dr. Emmanuel Kojo Tinkorang has said.

“We were also health workers; we were all in public health working in a government institution and the way we were doing our work is quite different from the health workers we see today. There was a lot of commitment; a lot of hard work and a lot of right attitude. But you don’t see it this time like that so sometimes I am saddened.”

He wants attitudinal change to curb growing cases of legal suits against the directorate.

“Recently, we’ve had a lot of legal cases. People are not happy because of the services that we’ve rendered to them and they go to court and then if you are not lucky, they will put judgement debt on the hospital.”