Francis Bentonsi Ibrahim (FBI), the medical doctor who has been pursuing the course for justice since his alleged ‘wrongful dismissal’ by his colleagues about 6 years back is scheduled to undergo a psychiatric assessment in Accra as part of processes to verify claims made against him and to have the issue redressed.
This would be the fifth test the distressed doctor would be taking since the incident occurred in 2011. Ghana’s Medical and Dental Council (MDC) fixed Wednesday April 11, 2018 for the test which they believe will help evaluate the mental status of Dr. Ibrahim who allegedly was tagged by his colleagues as mentally unstable to get him out of the job as payback for something he says he “didn’t know anything about.
As he awaits his fate based on the verdict from the council, FBI who resides in the Upper East Region says he has been left with not much of a choice than to appear before the council who requested his appearance for an evaluation by a psychiatrist and a clinical psychologist two weeks back. Dr. Ibrahim obliged to go for the test to avoid having his license revoked as stated in the letter from the council.
A member of a civil society organization interested in the issue, Collins Kizito said the panel on the council will have to provide evidence to justify their report if any form of bias or foul play is suspected after they produce a report from the test.
“So far, I can only say I’m impressed with how the GMA (Ghana Medical Association) has stood by him (Dr. Ibrahim) after reports of his plight came out. But simply put, if the panel which we heard has been set up by the Medical and Dental Council writes any report we suspect to be biased or influenced by an individual or a clique, the panel would have to justify that report or prove to Ghanaians what shows the doctor is mentally ill,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Human Rights Group, Amnesty International Ghana (AIG) who is pursuing the subject has advised that Dr. Ibrahim goes for the scheduled assessment with a trusted person, preferably a lawyer or mental health professional who can give an independent view of what happens on Wednesday.
They have also pledged utmost support for the doctor by keeping their eye on the process to ensure justice is attained.
“When he’s going for the assessment, he should not go alone. He should go with someone who can give an independent view of what happens at the assessment he is going for. He should find someone he can trust, if possible a lawyer or a mental health professional, who can give an independent view of that process,” AIG’s Director, Robert Akoto Amoafo, told Starr News Friday.
“What we are doing now is to provide him with legal assistance at the Legal Resources Centre. Another thing is to monitor the required process and, if need be, take the case to a higher level if he thinks the results from where the case is now are unfair.
“If it does not work at the Ghana Health Service level, we would go to the Minister for Health with him. And if that, too, does not work, it would up go another level where he would get access to justice,” Mr. Amoafo affirmed.
Concerned medical doctors in Germany and United Kingdom who have keen interest in the subject have also announced their support for the doctor, to ensure fairness and justice in the aftermath of the forthcoming assessment.
Francis Bentonsi Ibrahim is said to have spoken out some years ago against a reported attempt by some staff at the Effia Nkwanta Regional Hospital in the Western region to extort GhC 50 from a poor couple whose daughter was in need of a blood transfusion.
The teenager, Patience Sakpetey, died on referral from the Prestea Government Hospital whilst her family was still searching everywhere to raise the blood transfusion fee allegedly demanded at the Effia Nkwanta Regional Hospital.
Her death prompted a media backlash that also left the public very much provoked against those hospital staff.
Following the development, Dr. Bentonsi alleged that a medical superintendent and some senior colleagues at the Hospital schemed with officials from the regional directorate of the Ghana Health Service 5 years ago to ‘rid’ him off the facility and to ‘teach him a lesson’ for having instigated the contents of the said publication. As though that wasn’t enough, he was given an indefinite suspension and replaced by a junior, cutting out his salary and every other incentive that came with his job as a doctor.
He reportedly was compelled to undertake four psychiatric tests, all of which he said saw him cleared of any mental disorder. A professor of clinical psychology at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, Araba Sefa-Dedeh, wrote back to the Western Regional Director of Health, Dr. Linda Vanotoo, in 2011 after Dr. Armah Aloo, the Director of the Ankaful Psychiatric Hospital at the time, had referred FBI to that teaching hospital, indicating that Dr. Ibrahim was mentally fit to practice.
Not satisfied, the GHS headquarters issued a fresh directive for him to submit himself for further psychiatric assessment. He declined and was, as a result, handed an indefinite-suspension letter in 2012.
“I have been reduced to an animal with a fur and a tail,” an agonising Dr. Ibrahim, who now survives on alms, told Starr News last month.