One dead at Tamale Teaching Hospital over expired anesthesia drug


A male adult has died with two others in an unknown condition at the Tamale Teaching Hospital following oxygen shortage and also refusal of surgeons to administer an expired anesthesia drug on a patient who suffered “acute abdominal pain”.

Yahaya Zuberu was referred from the Samaritan Medical Center in Tamale after being diagnosed of acute abdomen and appendicitis. He was admitted at the Emergency ward of the referral center serving three regions in the country’s north and later wheeled into a theater for surgery.

However, something unexpected ensued that suddenly caused the death of the ailing man; at the theater, nurse anesthetists declined to use the only expired vecuronium drug and surgeons also did not have oxygen for treatment.

The attendant doctor (name withheld) wrote to management elaborating their constraints but two hours later the patient clinically died.

“Case was brought up to theater but case could not be operated on because there was no oxygen available and also vecuronium available. Surgeons are available to operate on patient when oxygen is available and vecuronium available”, the doctor wrote in the patient folder cited by Starr News.

Starr News checks revealed that management is yet to respond to the surgeons’ complaint and the condition of two patients seeking similar treatment on the day has remained undisclosed. The two are feared to have suffered the same fate but doctors rebuffed and gave no reason.

This is not the first time deaths have been attributed to unavailability of oxygen. In August last year two persons- a stroke patient and a boy who suffered electric shock, died prematurely after the facility lacked the vital medicinal substance.

A week ago nurse anesthetists laid down tools after they claimed management of the hospital directed and compelled them to use expired anesthesia drugs pending fresh supplies.

Seven persons reportedly suffered complications including complete loss of memories and severe pains and have been treated at private health centers after the expired drugs were administered on them.

The report drew public indignation compelling management to roundly dismiss the claims and forcing the Food and Drugs Authority to initiate a probe.
The FDA after a visit to the hospital has refused to divulge its findings after several attempts by Starr News.

Pressure groups also intensified calls for top management to step down and be investigated for mismanagement including corruption, looting and incompetence.

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