The 37 Military Hospital has been sued together with a doctor, the Chief of Defence Staff and government by a family of a 48-year-old man who died at the facility.
The plaintiff is also demanding GH¢2 million damages for medical negligence leading to the deceased’s death.
The family contends that the death of Solomon Asare Kumah at the hospital in October 2019 was due to a breach of contract and negligence by the hospital and the doctor, Col. Dr Gao Appiah who took care of him.
Per the writ filed in 2021, the family argues that, “the hospital and its employees failed to exercise due care when they wrongly inserted Solomon’s breathing tube under his skin thereby denying oxygen for a considerable amount of time and as such causing stain on his heart and other organs and thus causing his death.”
The particulars of the negligence complaint were that, the 3rd defendant (Hospital) and its employees responsible for Solomon’s care, particularly the 4th defendant, (doctor) failed to exercise due care when they wrongly inserted Solomon’s breathing tube under his skin thereby denying him oxygen for a considerable amount of time and as such causing a strain on his heart and other organs and causing his death;
“The 3rd defendant and its employees failed to provide the appropriate standard of care when they failed to notice within reasonable time that Solomon’s tube had been wrongly inserted until he (Solomon) became extremely bloated;
“The 3rd defendant and its employees responsible for Solomon’s care, particularly the 4th defendant, failed to exercise due care when they failed to ensure on 16th September, 2019, that the drill required for Solomon’s surgery was in good working condition before cutting open Solomon’s skull, thereby exposing his body and organs to considerable strain and clotting in the vein, a condition which required an expensive procedure costing Solomon and his family the Ghana Cedi equivalent of five thousand five hundred United States Dollars (US$5,500.00) plus other expenses to treat;
“The 3rd defendant and its employees failed in their duty of care to Solomon when they failed to notice that Solomon had developed symptoms of clotting in the vein; and the 3rd defendant failed in its duty as a referral hospital to ensure that it had the requisite tools and equipment to treat Solomon’s condition before admitting him,” the writ stated.
Reliefs being sought
The family per the writ issued in 2021 is seeking the following reliefs…
a. A Damages of two million eight thousand two hundred and fifty-nine Ghana Cedis and fifty-seven pesewas (GH¢2,008,259.57) for negligently causing the death of Solomon Asare-Kumah;
b. Compensation to the widow and family members for mental distress, which eventually led to the death of Solomon’s father;
C. General damages for breach the contract between Solomon and the dr3 defendant;
d. An order for the recovery of special damages for breach of contract and for negligence resulting in the following losses;
The sum of twenty thousand Ghana Cedis (GH¢20,000.00) being funeral and other expenses incurred; the sum of thirty-six thousand two hundred Ghana Cedis (GH¢36,200.00) being the sums of money collected from Solomon and or his family by 4th defendant through deceit, and unconscionable contract; the sum of ten thousand Ghana Cedis (GH¢10,000.00) being the expenses incurred by family during Solomon’s 60-day stay at the 3rd defendant’s facility; and sum of the Ghana Cedi equivalent of five thousand five hundred United States Dollars (US$5,500.00) being expenses incurred for the IVC filter procedure at the National Cardio Centre, Korle-Bu;
e. Any other reliefs the Honourable Court deems fit;
f. Costs including solicitor’s fees of forty thousand Ghana Cedis (GH¢40,000.00).
EIB Network’s Legal Affairs Correspondent, Murtala Inusah, reports that the High Court in Accra is expected to rule on an application from the family seeking the Chief of Defence Staff and the Hospital to release the report of its investigation on the matter pending the determination of the substantive matter.
The Plaintiff is the customary successor, and the administrator of the estate of Solomon Asare-Kumah (deceased) and brings this action in the capacities indorsed on the writ.
The Attorney General – 1st Defendant is the principal legal adviser to the government of Ghana and the constitutionally designated defendant for all suits against the State.
The Chief of Defence Staff – 2nd defendant is the head of the Ghana Armed Forces, and has oversight responsibility for the operations of the 3rd defendant herein.
37 Military Hospital- 3rd defendant is a state-owned referral hospital located in Accra, and was at all times material to the facts giving rise to the instant action, the employer of the 4th defendant.
Col. Dr Gao Appiah (doctor)- The 4th defendant is an employee of the 3rd defendant and the consultant surgeon in charge of the care of Solomon Asare-Kumah during his stay at the facility of the 3rd defendant.