Court slaps GH₵ 1million on 37 Military Hospital for death of pregnant woman

A 27-year-old pregnant woman died at the 37 Military Hospital in 2015 over the refusal of doctors to perform a caesarean section, an Accra High court has established.

Helena Brema Nyamekye lost over 1.5litres of blood shortly after delivery and later died because doctors insisted that she is delivered through vaginal birth.

An Accra High court has subsequently awarded the deceased’s family with GHC1, 075, 000 compensation to be paid by the hospital for the death of the PhD Student.

“No proper plan was put in place to monitor her even though they knew her situation,” the court established.

The hospital rejected a request from her husband to perform a caesarean section, a decision that has left her son deformed in one arm.

The husband of the deceased, Captain Nyamekye, and the lady’s father sued the hospital for negligence.

The court, presided over by Justice Kweku Tawiah Ackaah-Boafo, established that the two doctors involved in the case, Major Dr Agyare Gyan and Dr Amofa, all gave contradictory accounts and did not give any reason why the request was not carried out.

In his judgment, Justice Ackah-Boafo said the medical team did not give proper care to the deceased.

The court said the pathologist who carried the examination on the remains gave a report to indicate that the direct cause of death was due to the hospital’s negligence.

To this end, the court said, the hospital had no reason not to have carried out the caesarean section.

Breakdown of the award

The court awarded a damage cost of GH₵400, 000 each to the father, and husband for their loss.

The court also awarded damages of GH₵ 50,000 for mental distress, GH₵100, 000 to the baby for the deformity to the right arm, GH₵50,000 for pain, another GH₵50, 000 to the husband and GH₵25, 000 for the primary care given to the baby.

The court said, looking at the age of the deceased and her knowledge of expertise, she would have been beneficial to the country and the family.

According to the court, the event leading to the death of the deceased was unacceptable, and if care is not taken, there would be more of such deaths.

What else did the court say?

The court’s opinion was that there was “no air of reality” from the evidence adduced by the defendant because Dr Agyare’s “evidence was contradictory”.

The court said the defendant’s counsel failed to address the issue as to why the caesarean section as per the request was not carried out by the doctors.

Justice Ackah-Boafo’s court held that no plausible or reasonable explanation was given to the court by the doctors why the request was not conducted.

The court also held that there was no doctor or house officer to review the process, and so no proper monitoring was done on the deceased when she was in the hospital.

The court said, per the testimonies of one COP Naa Shioa Odoi, a hospital staff, “it became very clear that the deceased was not properly monitored” until she gave birth and later bled to death.

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