A taxi driver who only gave his name as Kobby, has given a detailed account of how health officials slowed down the response time in saving the lives of four gas explosion victims who have all passed away.
Kobby was the driver who carried the now-deceased police officer and her three children who were severely burnt by from the explosion to the hospital in search of treatment.
But, as has been the case with many of Ghana’s hospitals, the victims were either met with not-too-concerned health officials or no beds to comfort them even as they struggled slowly to their deaths.
45-year-old Kate Abban with her three children had just returned from Church when the unfortunate incident happened.
Reports say, Kate, the deceased police woman was about to prepare her family’s meal for the day when the gas she was using for the process exploded to swallow her and her three children – 9, 11 and 22 years olds.
Kate had sent her 22-year-old son, a final year in the university to procure gas but on returning realised the gas was leaking so she called the same son to conduct some checks on the cylinder containing the gas.
That was the begging of the end for them as the gas exploded in the process, Kobby narrated to Adom FM’s Dwaso Nsem show Friday.
Kobby was standing by his taxi ready for the day’s business when he heard the loud explosion and as such, became the emergency driver for the day but what followed the trip with the fire victims to the hospital will live with him forever.
According to Kobby, as traumatic as the carrying of the burnt victims was for him, the ordeal the victims went through subsequently transcended trauma for him.
Kobby’s first stop with the victims on the day was a nearby clinic, he narrated.
Road to the Hospital
Kobby met a group of nurses who were themselves struck by the degree of burns as they offered no help, not even a first aid.
They asked him to take the suffering mother and her children to another facility. In fact, they suggested Aakawe Hospital located at MacCarthy Hill Junction.
At Aakawe, the victims were admitted for treatment but only for a while as they would be referred to the 37 Military Hospital.
On their way to the 37 Military Hospital, however, Kate Abban requested to be taken to the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital instead.
Listen to his narration on the challenges he faced at the hospital in audio below
The Korle Bu Story
At Korle Bu, a hospital that is supposed to be the citadel of health care, Kobby said the victims faced hours of neglect and pain.
Unconcerned-looking nurses either requested for the victims’ health insurance or deposits as preconditions for treatment.
A familiar song that has become characterised with health care in Ghana – ‘no beds’ was also sung at the expense of the suffering victims.
Not even assurances from Kobby and a man he called only as Alhaji that money wasn’t a problem and shouldn’t be an impediment to saving the lives of mother and children would make some of these health officials move into action.
“The nurses treated us as though they were nobodies,” Kobby said in a pained voice.
“I have heard and watched such news [of no beds and lack of care] on radio and TV but this time, I saw it unfold before my very eyes,” Kobby said.
A good Samaritan to the Rescue
As nurses requested for deposits-before-treatment, Kobby said an Alhaji who lived in the same compound with the family volunteered to foot the medical expenses.
“By the time the Alhaji got to the hospital, the suffering family were still sitting in chairs with no nurses or doctor to attend to them,’ he said.
At this time, it was already getting late, Kobby said.
The burnt victims, Kobby narrated, sat in chairs from the time they got to the hospital till the evening when the Alhaji had come to pay their medical bills.
It was only after payment that treatment commenced – four long painful hours that will make any suffering soul give up and so they did.
A week on and Kate Abban and her children were remembered today, Friday, 17th January, 2020 but for what it’s worth Kobby only remembers their pain and their last words.
“I see them every minute,” he told Chief Jerry Forson, host of Dwaso Nsem.
Kate Abban was a Police Inspector who had just been promoted to the rank of a Chief Inspector and was stationed at Techiman in the Bono Region.
He left behind a husband, an ex-service man whose needs the everyone’s prayers but as you pray for him, remember the one who needs your prayers most – Ghana our motherland.
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