Ghana: Widower Testifies Before Parliament Over Death of Wife in Ambulance

Husband of the late Augustina Awotwi, the lady who died in an ambulance after child birth complications early this year has told a Parliamentary Adhoc Committee probing the circumstances surrounding his wife’s death that his pleas to the ambulance crew to overlook financial considerations for the deceased’s life fell on deaf ears.

According to John Kwabena Obiri-Yeboah, the crew demanded GH¢600 for fuel upon meeting him at Elmina junction on their way to the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra where the late Awotwi who had gone under the knife had been referred.

“Mr Chairman, I begged them to take my wife to Accra and I will pay them upon arrival because I had contacted my banker to arrange GH¢1,000 for me.

“Some passersby joined me to beg them but they refused,” Mr Obiri-Yeboah said when he appeared before the six-member committee in Accra yesterday.

The late Augustina Awotwi was said to have died when she was being transported from the Holy Child Catholic Hospital at Fijai in the Western Region to the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital on January 4, 2022.

Narrating what transpired on that fateful day to the committee chaired by the Member for Effiduase/Asokore, Dr Nana Afriyie Ayew, Mr Obiri-Yeboah said the journey of her wife from Fijai to Accra begun around 3: 00 p.m. after the session was conducted for the baby to be removed around 10:00 a.m.

Complications, he said, developed prompting her to be transferred to Accra to which a call was placed for him to meet the crew at the Elmina junction.

“Mr Chairman, no money for fuel was discussed with me when they called that I meet them. But when I met them, they demanded that I pay GH¢600 for fuel. I told then I had only GH¢150 on me.

“They took GH¢50 from me after several minutes of discussion and drove back to Fijai. Upon arrival at Fijai, the crew and the medical team engaged in heated argument for more than 30 minutes.

“When the medical team informed me that they had given them the money for fuel, they dropped me and drove to go buy the fuel with my wife still in the van. I can’t tell if they went to buy the fuel or not because they dropped me,” he told the Committee in his narration.

He said the journey continued back to Accra about 6:00 p.m. but upon arrival at the Cape Coast Teaching Hospital where the crew wanted to seek extra first aid attention to the late wife, “the crew pronounced her dead around 8pm. They did not get a medical officer to pronounce my wife dead. They did themselves.”

The teary widower said the ambulance crew attempted depositing the remains of her late wife at the Cape Coast Teaching Hospital but he refused and demanded that she was taken to the a private facility at Dompoase in the Western Region.

The 50-year old junior high school teacher said the cause of her wife’s death was still not known before she was buried.

“When I enquired about it, they said they would communicate to me. I couldn’t go there for the cause of death report because anytime I went there, the episode plays back in my mind” he said as tears roll down his cheeks.

Probed further by members of the committee why he did not ensure a medical officer certified the death of his wife and the corona report, Mr Obiri-Yeboah said the circumstances at the time left him traumatised to be seeking such information.

The committee which was constituted on June 2, 2022, is set to sit again tomorrow Friday to listen to other witnesses who may include officers of the Ghana Ambulance Service, the Ghana Health Service, the Ghana Medical Association and the Christian Health Association of Ghana.

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