Woman Paralyzed After Midwife Administers Wrong Injection
…29-Year-Old Pharmacist Sues VRA Hospital For Negligence
A 29-year-old doctor-pharmacist, Rachel Okem Otchere, has taken a legal action against the Volta River Authority (VRA) and its subsidiary, the VRA Health Services, operators of the VRA Hospital at Aboadze in the Western Region, over alleged medical negligence that has left her paralyzed.
This was after a midwife on duty allegedly administered the wrong injection to Dr. Otchere, the plaintiff, after she had undergone a successful Caesarean Section (CS) at the VRA facility and was due to be discharged.
Dr. Otchere, who, until her predicament, was a certified practicing doctor pharmacist at the Efia Nkwanta Regional Hospital in Takoradi, is now paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair, having spent over six months on admission at the University of Ghana Medical Centre (UGMC) in Accra.
Court documents sighted by The Anchor indicate that the midwife mistakenly administered an injection called IM Atracurium 50mg, instead of the prescribed Antigen immunoglobulin, for the plaintiff, on January 26, 2023.
The writ indicates that within 30minutes of administering the wrong injection to the plaintiff, she immediately suffered a cardiac arrest, lost consciousness, suffered brain damage and became paralyzed, among others, an incident which was confirmed by records from the defendants’ hospital.
With the court processes, filed by Morrison Twumasi & Partners, the plaintiff “is demanding from the defendants – (VRA as 1st defendant and VRA Health Services as 2nd defendant) about twelve million Ghana Cedis (GH₵12, 000, 000) and continuous bearing of all her medical cost until such a time that she is declared medically fit to go about her normal activities.”
How it started
The writ, dated October 31, narrated that the patient had visited the VRA Health Services at Aboadze to deliver her baby through Caesarean Section (CS) surgery on 26 January, 2023.
The CS was completed and the plaintiff was billed to go home, but, according to the plaintiff, before she would be discharged, she needed to be given another Antigen D injection as part of the treatment plan.
But, unfortunately, the midwife on duty, whose name was given only as Doris, negligently administered “IM Atracurium 50mg instead of the Antigen D immunoglobulin.”
The writ said, “Plaintiff avers that, the medical records available demonstrate without equivocation that, as a direct result of the negligence act of the Defendants, Plaintiff has suffered several ailments including memory deficits or loss, seizure predisposition, intermittent contusion, no speech both in form and content, poor memory affecting both short and long term (mostly short term).”
Others, it added, “are deformity and weakness, needing wheelchair, a gaping and horrific wound around her back/buttock where she was injected with the wrong medicine, paralysis.”
Lawyers say what is surprising is that the plaintiff has been a patient/client of the Aboadze branch of the defendants’ hospital for well over two years now, and that by virtue of this relatively long association, the defendants were well-versed with her medical history, as well as her peculiar health needs.
They said that, prior to the ordeal the plaintiff suffered at defendant’s hospital, which has drastically ruined “the beautiful life and health of plaintiff, who was on admission at the said hospital after undergoing the Caesarean Section (CS) surgery for the delivery of her baby girl on or about 26th January, 2023.”
“By reason of her Blood Rhesus factor as well as her medical history which Defendants are very much aware of, Defendants hospital as part of Plaintiff’s pre- and post-surgery management plan, scheduled Plaintiff for an Antigen D injection (Anti-D) before and after the delivery of the baby in order to protect Plaintiff’s future pregnancy (ies).
“Plaintiff avers that, in line with the management/ treatment plan, the hospital on or about the 23rd of November, 2022 and when the pregnancy was about twenty-eight (28) weeks old, administered the first Antigen D immunoglobulin to Plaintiff.
“Plaintiff avers that, on or about 28th January 2023 the Plaintiff was due to be discharged hence the last of the Antigen D injection (Anti-D) had to be administered before she could be discharged to go home.
“Plaintiff repeats paragraph 10 above and further avers that, the midwife on duty at the time whom Plaintiff knows as Doris, administered a wrong injection called IM Atracurium 50mg instead of the Antigen D immunoglobulin,” they continued.
According to the documents, 30 minutes after administering the IM Atracurium 50mg, the plaintiff suffered a cardiac arrest, lost consciousness, suffered brain damage and became paralyzed, among others.
They further said, “Plaintiff repeats paragraph 11 above and avers further that, the fact that Defendants’ hospital administered the wrong injection to the Plaintiff is admitted to in correspondences and records of the hospital such as the referral form issued by the Defendants’ hospital when Plaintiff was transferred to University of Ghana Medical Centre (UGMC) for further and better treatment.
“By the action of the Defendants, the Plaintiff says her life has now been completely ruined and her family now is saddled with enormous financial burdens or bills to pay towards her treatment as we as stress, trauma, and discomfort among others.”
Rachel, the court document said, is unable to play any vital role in the life upbringing of her children and has suffered past and present as well as prospective pain as well as from medical treatments.
The certified doctor-pharmacist, having been confined to a wheelchair, is also unable to fend for herself and her family and now depends on the benevolence of family and friends.
The mother of two, among others, is also unable to start or sustain any meaningful conversation with anyone or able to walk.
“Plaintiff avers that, as a result of the negligence and wrongful conduct of Defendants, our client is going through severe pain and financial stress and has presently spent not less GH₵400,000.00 in paying medical/ health bills and requires more money to continue with her treatment with the hope that she may recover and get back to her former state.
“Plaintiff avers that, as a result of the injuries/ damage suffered and suffering, she has incurred substantial financial loss or damage and continues to incur same in respect of medical bills and treatment cost and continue to do so without any support from the Defendants,” the lawyers canvassed.
They therefore asked the High Court to order at the defendants to assume or bear all past, present and future medical health recovery bills, as well as physical and rehabilitation therapy treatment of the plaintiff, until such a time that she shall be certified by a certified medical institution to have fully recovered.
They are also among others demanding “General damages assessed at Six Million Cedis (GH₵6, 000, 000. 00) for past, present and prospective pains, loss and suffering as pleaded in paragraph 14 and 19of the Statement of Claim.
“General damages for negligence assessed at a minimum six million cedis (GH₵6, 000, 000. 00) as compensation for the disability, incapacitated and disfigurement caused the Plaintiff.
“Damages for loss of earnings assessed at two million (GH₵2, 000, 000. 00) resulting from the loss of employment and earnings.”
More To Come…