By Alagie Manneh
The management of the main referral hospital, EFSTH, has opened an inquiry into allegations that a patient tragically died in an ambulance at its Accident and Emergency while waiting to be attended.
Fatou Dibba of Bakau died Tuesday after she was referred to the EFSTH following complications during child birth. Social media and early speculations indicated that Madame Dibba was turned away at the EFSTH as doctors feared she was suffering from Covid-19. Fatou was pregnant with twins, one of which “naturally” delivered but a cesarean was carried out to deliver the second at ABS clinic. However, she had developed difficulties and was rushed to the EFSTH where she was allegedly not attended to until she died.
Contacted about the matter, the PRO of the hospital Kebba Nyancho Sanneh, said: “An investigation has been launched and tomorrow the management of the EFSTH will meet and discuss on this particular issue. So people must refrain from speculating as the situation is not clear.”
He continued: “We need to investigate what led to this tragic incident,” Mr Sanneh said adding that the purpose of any medical institution is to get people well and not to have them die.
An outpour of anger inundated social networking sites, with many accusing doctors and nurses of negligence.
But PRO Sanneh said he would not call it negligence so far. “I wouldn’t call it negligence because there was a suspected Covid case involved. If the patient was referred to us even though she had suspected Covid, then that clinic should also be held responsible. But again Covid or no Covid, however, the doctor should have seen the patient,” Mr Sanneh noted.
Asked about the ‘alarming’ trend of women dying during childbirth at our hospitals, Mr Sanneh said: “It’s not true that people are dying here at the maternity ward at a rate beyond our control. I will not agree to that. People should realise that hospitals in The Gambia are not up to standard. The reality is statistically, there is no proof that that has been the case here.”
Contacted for comment, the ABS clinic which referred Madame Dibba to EFSTH, denied any wrong-doing.
However, a personnel of the clinic told The Standard on condition of anonymity that the EFSTH was obligated to check on Madame Dibba before sending her back to ABS.
According to the personnel, no one attended to them upon arrival at the A&E of the EFSTH.
“When we arrived at the A&E, they didn’t even want to come close to us. Fatou was well and alive then, contrary to what online media peddle. But we were made to wait for well over 30 minutes and she died,” our source said adding that their first stop was at MRC who referred them to EFSTH.
The source added: “When a patient is referred to a referral hospital, that hospital is obligated to admit her, to check on her, but that did not happen.”
Our source advised public health workers and those in public offices to “change their attitudes”.