Ridge Hospital cleared over coronavirus misdiagnosis in death of 24-yr-old woman

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The Greater Accra Regional Hospital also known as the Ridge Hospital has been cleared by its management over any form of medical negligence over the death of Barbara Oforiwaa Agyemang, 24, at the facility.

Family of the deceased cited COVID-19 misdiagnosis as the cause of Barbara Agyemang’s death at the facility on 19th June 2020.

According to mother of the deceased, Paulina Agyemang, nurses and doctors who handled her daughter’s medical care treated her for COVID-19 which led to her death. Shortly after her death, her COVID-19 test came out negative.

But the hospital has in a statement stated that nurses and doctors who took care of the deceased did no wrong and followed protocols.

According to the statement released by the hospital “there was no issue of medical negligence in the management of this case, neither was there any misdiagnosis.”

Below is the full statement by the Hospital;

MEDICAL REPORT OF THE LATE MISS AGYEMANG BARBARA OFORIWAA, 24YEARS

(Alleged to be misdiagnosed at GARH)

The late Miss Agyemang Barbara Oforiwaa was seen at the emergency department of the Greater Accra Regional Hospital on the 11th June, 2020 at 1:04 pm. She was ill on arrival (with a triage score of Orange). She was referred from FAITH MISSION HOSPITAL with a referral diagnosis of acute pyelonephritis (severe infection of the kidneys).

She was managed at that hospital on outpatient basis for malaria and “stomach infection” (as was indicated in the referral letter). She reported back to that facility when her symptoms worsened. There, she was admitted and managed for urinary tract infection (UTI) and “gastroenteritis”. She was later referred to GARH for further management when her condition worsened.

She was seen by the medical team with a complaint of generalized weakness, nausea and flank pain of 2 weeks duration. After assessment, the medical team made a diagnosis of acute pyelonephritis.

She was admitted to the main Medical ward and started on antibiotics. Basic laboratory investigations and abdominal and pelvic ultrasound scans were requested. On day 2 of admission, she complained of fever and chills. Her blood oxygen level started dropping to between 93-94% in room air from her initial value 97% with pulse rate of 120 bpm. She was started on oxygen at 3l/mins which increased her saturation (oxygen level) to 97-99%.

On further examination, her breath sounds were reduced in her lung fields on both sides. A further diagnosis of bronchopneumonia was made and on account of the respiratory symptoms and fever, a suspicion of COVID-19 infection was also considered.

Arrangement was made for her to be transferred to the hospital holding bay for suspected COVID-19 patients, upon discussion with the team at the holding area.

At the Holding centre all the ongoing treatments for acute pyelonephritis and bronchopneumonia were continued for her. Samples were taken for COVID -19 screening test. On day 8, she was noticed to be breathless intermittently.

Laboratory test results indicated the possibility of clot formation and therefore the prophylactic anticoagulation treatment was scaled up to treatment doses. Unfortunately, she passed away on 19th June, 2020.

The COVID test result came after her death and proved negative. Critical appraisal of the management processes of this patient indicated she received the best of care. There was no misdiagnosis. The suspicion of COVID-19 in addition to her initial diagnosis was as per the existing institutional criteria for COVID-19 suspicion.

The transfer to the holding centre did not change the quality and standards of care. It was rather a good precautionary measure so that other patients on the original ward are not unduly exposed. This is a standard protocol at the hospital.

The fact that the nurse encouraged her to use face mask whiles receiving oxygen by nasal prongs was appropriate because she was still coughing and the staff wanted to protect the environment, other patients and the staff within the holding centre.

In conclusion, there was no issue of medical negligence in the management of this case, neither was there any misdiagnosis. The staff at the holding centre explained the circumstances leading to death to the family. The family did not resort to management with any official complaints.

However, Management would like to extend our heartfelt condolences to the family.

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