Three-year-old Abigail Afedzi has been held hostage in the Isolation Ward of the Plastic Surgery and Burns Centre, of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital for her outstanding bills.
Wrapped in bandages to cover her burns, she burst into loud cries when doctors she associated with the dressing of her burns entered the room.
Her mother, distraught, sat by the child’s sick bed, hoping for help from some Good Samaritan.
Abigail needs GH¢3,865.45, after the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) had paid GH¢1,046.91 out of the GH¢4,912.39 which is the full cost of the treatment.
She will have to undergo a second surgery to complete the repair of her skin, but not until her outstanding bill has been paid.
The estimated cost of the second surgery, in addition to her outstanding bill and cost of dressing the burns, is put at GH¢15,000.
Abigail’s mother, scared by the cost, said she would like to take her daughter home.
“I don’t know how I can pay this bill. If somebody helps me pay it, I cannot take on additional bills. I will take her home and come for dressing till the wound heals on its own,” she said.
However, Dr Janet Pereko of the Burns Centre said that would be unhelpful to the child because of the implications for her health.
According to her, allowing the burns to heal on their own could create unsightly scars or keloids on the child later which would require surgery to treat.
Again, she said, dressing the burns till they healed on their own could lead to chronic anaemia in the child, as the fluids from the burns would lead to blood loss.
Dr Pereko added that without the second surgery for skin grafting, Abigail could develop weak skin which could often break easily and might lead to skin cancer.
“We need help,” Abigail’s mother said.
Aside from Abigail, Maame Osam, a university student fighting cancer of the knee, needs help to foot her bills.
She needs $34,000 to get cured. Her doctors say she will be well if money was available for her treatment.
Her father, a pensioner, has spent a fortune, including selling some assets, to save her daughter. So far, his effort has yielded about half the amount and delivered initial results, but the gains could be reversed if treatment stalls for lack of funds.