Little Sandra Agyapong was brought to the screening by her daddy. They had traveled for a day and a half to get to Kumasi. Sandra was healthy, a good candidate for surgery, and was scheduled for early in the week because of the distance they had traveled and would have to travel to return home. The day of her scheduled surgery came, but she did not show up. That often happens if the parents become nervous about having foreign strangers operate on their child.
The final day of surgery, Sandra and her daddy showed up for surgery. The obvious question was, “Where have you been?” We learned through translators that he was told his daughter could not be operated on until she was registered with the hospital. In order to do that, he needed the booklet of immunizations that is issued to all children at the time of birth. He had left it at home, so he traveled back home to get it, a day and a half, then back to the hospital, another day and a half. Needless to say, Sandra was quickly added to the operating schedule.
We later found out that the mother wouldn’t come with Sandra because she didn’t think anything could be done and she really didn’t want the child. It is common in many developing countries for parents to abandon or put to death a child born with a deformity, as it is believed the family is cursed to have such a child. As Sandra and her daddy left, we looked around and found the immunization booklet left on the table in the hospital. The hospital staff said they would see that it was returned to Sandra’s dad.