Hospital negligence is a type of medical malpractice that involves improper conduct on the part of the hospital administration or hospital employees such as nurses, doctors and attendant staff. Injuries resulting from hospital negligence can be catastrophic and even deadly. They are also disturbingly common in Ghana today and are causing a number of needless deaths.
Patients must be able to count on hospitals to provide a standard of health care and safety, yet this is not always the reality. Hospital negligence can take many possible forms, commonly resulting from under-trained staff, insufficient staffing which often leads to tiredness and frustration among the health professionals, unsafe facilities and facilities in bad condition, lost medical records which are rampant in our health care facilities, wrong test results and improper communication with patients among other reasons.
Hospital negligence can result in a number of unfortunate and often preventable damages, including falls, preventable birth injuries, misdiagnosis of a condition, or serious infections. Injuries sustained from medical negligence in a hospital can be permanent, negatively impacting the victim’s life or necessitating lifelong medical care but how many people in Ghana can survive if they have to seek medical care all their life due to an act of negligence on the part of one medical professional.
The level of care patients receive in our hospitals is not encouraging. Negligence of healthcare professionals has caused a number of needless deaths in Ghana recently. We hear of patients dying because proper care was not given them at hospitals. Some die due surgeries that were not conducted well. Patients go through stress and pain because health professionals on duty were too busy to hear them out and at times, the wrong medicines have to be dispensed. Most recent is when a nurse in the Suhum Government Hospital allegedly slapped a pregnant woman in labour for reason that she was making noise.
Until recently, not a year passed without a news headline about health workers going on strike or at least threatening to go on strike if the government failed to meet certain working conditions. It is only fair that they receive remuneration equal to the efforts, energy and commitment they put in taking care of the sick. But that is not the case; the clinician’s salary and conditions of service are not motivating enough for them to also give out their heart in taking care of patients.