Could She Have Been Saved? Delayed CT Scanning, Hours Without Bed at RVTH
Monday, July 11, 2011
“If you cannot wait, go to MRC [Medical Research Council] and pay [more] money for treatment,” a nurse snapped as if to pay for less should be at the expense of the patient.
Her comment was in response to question as to whether Royal Victoria Teaching Hospital, the country’s main referral hospital has only one scanner to examine victims of accidents.
Badly injured seventy year-old Fanna Secka was in a critical condition when she was ushered into Accident and Emergency unit of RVTH on Monday July 4, two hours after a commercial vehicle knocked him down at Lamin village, West Coast Region at around 9.00am.
One of her sons, Baka Mbaye was waiting on a vehicle along the highway when he saw people racing towards the scene of the accident. Unknown to him then, the figure all the eyes were transfixed on, was his mother laid flat on the ground.
It was the third car accident reported in the Gambia in the past fourteen days, claiming the lives of over fourteen people.
Late Fanna Secka was a native of Ngeyen Sanjal, a village in the North Bank Region, who came to reside in Lamin with her son two years ago.
Following the accident, she was rushed in a taxi to Banjulunding health centre where it was decided that she needed an immediate referral to RVTH after she was examined.
However, it took over an hour after the referral notice before Fanna was embarked on a taxi as no ambulance was available at Banjulunding health centre to evacuate her.
Amid traffic jam, she arrived at the hospital two hours after the accident and was rushed to the emergency unit on a trolley.
Inspite the wave of pain rocking through the old woman, she could not secure a comfortable bed until the following day at 1.15 am when a patient in the Intensive Care Unit passed away.
Before then, she remained on the trolley where she was given medication and even intra veinsular drip (IV drip) was fixed on her while on the trolley.
Until that time, no scanning was conducted to see how injured late Fanna Secka was. The only CT scanner said to be available was not in operation and had to be repaired.
The scanning was done in the afternoon of Tuesday July 5, a day after the accident and some twelve hours after late Fanna was given a bed. It cost the family one thousand, four hundred and forty five dalasi.
And late Fanna Secka was discovered to have severe head injury as a result of the accident. She was bleeding internally, the hospital reports indicated.
Death laid its cold hands on her at 9.45 am on the dot on Wednesday. Survived by seven children, she was interred the same day at her village of birth.
The driver who knocked her down is under the custody of the police for investigation.
Author: Alagie Ceesay