Starr News has uncovered a Patient “detention room” at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Koforidua in the Eastern Region.
The room has been designated to detain patients who have been discharged but are unable to pay their medical bills.
The room has obsolete medical beds where the affected patients sleep on.
The detained patients are neither fed nor taken care of by the hospital. They are also denied review services of their conditions deteriorating their healing process.
The staff of the hospital only visit the room to count the detained patients to ensure no one has escaped.
Information gathered by Starr News indicates that the decision to create the detention room is to curb the menace of patients running away which the hospital says is causing huge financial loss.
Four male patients are currently being held in the room. The patients call the room “condemn”.
The four patients currently detained in the room are Mawuli Yaw whose bill is Ghc20,000 but has managed to pay only Ghc45.
Nsiah Nicholas’s medical bill is Ghc9,612 while Kwame Samuel was billed Ghc5,097 but paid Ghc700. Kofi Davor has the least bill of Ghc4,511 of which he has paid Ghc590.
All these patients are not on the National Health Insurance scheme.
Nsiah Nicholas, an accident victim said he was brought to the hospital by the police and since then no family member has visited him to help pay his bills.
“I was working in Akyem Kwabeng as an Okada rider. One night a car nearly knocked me down which caused me to crash at the roadside so I was injured, the police brought me to this hospital and left. Since my admission here 7 months ago nobody has come to visit. So some few individuals I don’t even know have been coming to help me,” He said
Mawuli Yaw, a Togolese who suffered a broken thigh after timber fell on him in Ghana. He has not been able to settle the ghc20,000 medical bill hence detained.
“I am a Togolese I came to work in Ghana and timber fell on me. I was sent to the hospital nine months ago. I have been discharged but I have not been able to settle my bill of Gh23,000 so they brought me to this condemned room”.
Kwame Samuel and Kofi Darvor have similar stories.
“They have amputated my leg. I am supposed to pay ghc4000 but I have not been able to pay so they brought me to this “Condemn” room. I have not died so why bring me to Condemn room. It pains me I am here,” Kwame Samuel said.
“I am also from Togo, I came to work in the Nkawkaw area as a Pragya rider. I was involved in an accident but the owner of the Pragya brought me here and abandoned me. I spent three months on admission” Kofi Darvor told Starr News Eastern Regional Correspondent Kojo Ansah.
Currently, St Joseph’s Hospital has held the body of a male deceased Muslim for owing Ghc15,000 before his death.
The decision by the hospital is creating tension as the family had wanted the hospital to release the body for burial in accordance with the Islamic religion.
The Eastern Regional Chief Imam, Alhaji Yussif Amudani told Starr News, that the family reported the matter to him which steps are being taken to negotiate with the hospital to release the corpse after making part payment of the debt.
“The family didn’t bring the matter to me straightforward they went to the National Chief who redirected them to me in the Eastern region. They told me they brought their family member who was a diabetic patient to St. Joseph’s hospital where his leg was amputated.
“The medical bill was over Ghc15,000 but the patient has died however the hospital says it will not release the body for burial until the bill is paid. The body has been in the morgue more almost two weeks now and we Muslims, bodies should be buried a few hours after death. We engaged the hospital and they say a similar issue happened and when the body was released to the Muslim family they never returned to pay the bills. we begged them to release the body to us so we pay the bills in instalments every month but they say no. so we are trying to mobilize money”.
The New Juaben North Municipal office of the Department of Social Welfare says it has been trying to negotiate with the hospital on behalf of the detained patients for instalment payment to facilitate their release.
Management of the hospital is yet to speak on the matter.