The Western Region Coordinator of the National Ambulance Service, Dr. Tawiah Tsiameh, has refuted claims that delays resulting from the search for fuel money for an ambulance led to the death of a woman in need of medical attention following the delivery of her baby.
Speaking on Eyewitness News, Dr. Tsiameh noted that the ambulance, which was transporting the woman to the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital on January 4, following complications after a Caesarean section, had left the woman’s baby behind.
The deceased, Augustina Awortwe, was referred from the Holy Child Clinic at Fijai in Takoradi.
“While on the way, they were called to go and pick the day-old baby, so they had to return to the hospital and that definitely caused a delay,” Dr. Tsiameh said.
Prior to departing the hospital, there were delays when the initial decision to leave the baby behind was taken.
“They were contemplating whether they should just add the child or just go like that, and that took some time. Later they decided there was no need to take the child because the child cannot be breastfed by the mother.”
According to the family of the deceased, the delay was occasioned by their inability to readily come up with the sum of GH¢600, to cover the cost of fuel for the ambulance.
The family eventually paid GH¢50, while the clinic paid GH¢550.
While he admits that the ambulance was low on fuel, he said the need for money was because of the unexpected distance the ambulance would have covered.
“We normally discuss with the relatives to find a way because the fuel is planned around the accident scene rather than taking patients and running around with them,” he explained.
The husband of the deceased has criticised the ambulance service and the conduct of its personnel, but Dr. Tsiameh feels he didn’t understand the situation and “didn’t know why we were called back to go and pick the day-old baby.”
Analysing the situation, Dr. Tsiameh also said there was no need to transport the mother to Korle Bu because there is an obstetrician-gynaecologist in the region that could have attended to the woman.