A record overcrowding at the Accident and Emergency Centre (A&E) of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra Saturday forced authorities to keep patients requiring emergency healthcare in ambulances for hours.
Patients who arrived in ambulances from across the country with different trauma cases could not get beds at the A&E Centre, and had to stay in their respective ambulances for at least four hours.
As at 2:00 p.m., seven ambulances from SSNIT Hospital, 37 Military Hospital, Koforidua, Kokurantumi and Nkroanza among other areas with patients and paramedics had formed a long queue in front of the arrival bay at the A&E.
Medical staff at the Accident and Emergency Centre could however not receive the patients because there were no available beds.
All beds in the ward at the Centre were occupied, and some patients were seen receiving treatment in wheelchairs.
The patients, most of who were on oxygen, were kept in the ambulances they arrived in.
Notwithstanding the situation, nurses on duty were at hand to support the patients with extra oxygen and other medical attention in the ambulances while they waited for beds.
“The place is choked and ambulances are lined up,” one paramedic who witnessed the depressing situation told 3news.com late Saturday evening.
One woman who was receiving oxygen in chair died, the paramedic who spoke on condition of anonymity said, and blamed political leaders for doing very little in equipping and resourcing hospitals in the country.
The new Korle-Bu Accident and Emergency Centre was opened in July 2018 with 65 beds and 30 trolleys to ease congestion at the old Surgical Medical Emergency Unit “in the short and medium term period”.
According to the paramedic, although they made advance calls to the Accident and Emergency Centre before arriving with the patients, persons in charge of the Centre never informed them of the ‘no bed’ situation at the facility.
“When you call they don’t tell you there are no available beds; they just tell you to come,” the source claim, noting it was when they arrived that they were confronted with the situation.
“They are scared to tell you there are no beds when you call,” the source added.
Our source said they arrived at the facility at 2:00 p.m. and had to stay in queue without bed until few minutes after 6:00 p.m. that they managed to secure.
At the time they were leaving the premises, the source said ambulances which were before them, were still waiting.
The source explained it was in the evening that the health officials started transferring some of the patients on admission to other wards in other departments of the hospital to free up space for those in the ambulances.
Our source said nurses who had finished their shifts were forced to stay on to help due to the dire situation at the hospital.