Court slaps Sam-J Hospital with GH₵326,000 fine …over medical negligence

An Accra High (Commercial) Court has fined Sam-J Specialist Hospital, in Accra, GH₵326,456, for medical negligence that led to a baby suffering paralysis in the right arm.

The amount include, the award of general damages of GH₵200,000 and a cost of GH₵20,000 against the hospital and its owner, Dr Amoo Mensah, a specialist obstetrician gyneacologist, who the court found to have negligently failed to live up to the professional medical standards in providing antenatal care to the plaintiff.

The court, presided over by Justice Doreen G, Boakye-Agyei determined that although the plaintiffs (expectant mother and her husband) sought the services of the private health facility and its owner for the best medical treatment to deliver a healthy baby, “their expectations were dashed due to the defendants not adhering to their own ethical and professional standards,” leaving the child “handicapped for life.”

The court found that as a result of the poor medical treatment, the baby suffered Klumpke’s palsy– a paralysis of the arm due to an injury of the network of spinal nerves resulting from a difficult delivery. 

Per the facts of the case, the couple, represented by their counsel, lawyer Emmanuel Darkwa, indicated that in March, 2017, they sought antenatal care from Sam-J Specialist Hospital, upon which the owner of the hospital, Dr Amoo Mensah, was assigned to care for the pregnant wife.

According to the plaintiffs, who sued the hospital, in June, 2019, adequate professional medical care was not offered as required of the doctor and the hospital.

They said that on one occasion a scan of the pregnancy was taken, upon which it was detected that the unborn baby had an unusual size and weighed 3.85kg at  37weeks, which normally makes delivery difficult.

The plaintiffs said although the expectant mother expressed concern about the size of the unborn baby, the doctor ignored her concerns, and during another visit, the doctor prescribed a medication for the expectant mother without informing her of the purpose. The expectant mother only found out at the pharmacy that the prescribed drug was for diabetes, although she was not diabetic.

According to the plaintiffs, they subsequently found out that gestational diabetes was the cause of the increase in the size and weight of the unborn baby, to which the hospital and doctor failed to offer any advice to address the situation before birth. 

The plaintiffs maintained that the injury suffered by their newborn son was a result of the big size and mode of delivery used by Dr Mensah and his hospital. 

 As a result of the injury, the plaintiffs had to seek medical remedy at other health facilities in Ghana and India, incurring substantial costs in the process.

The court granted all the reliefs sought by the plaintiffs, except the interests on the various costs incurred.

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