Man of the week series: Meet the Cabinet Minister who performs open-heart surgery on weekends


Man of the Week Series: Meet the Cabinet Minister who performs open-heart surgery on weekends

As busy cabinet minister, Professor Kwabena Frimpong Boateng still finds time to save lives by performing open-heart surgeries on weekends.

Prof Frimpong Boateng and his team busy at work

In a country where virtually all politicians insist on being addressed as “Honorable”; where the cabinet ministers work hard to produce results lest they be “embarrassed” at cabinet meetings because the president is reported to usually “know more about” the sector ministries; and where high egos amongst some ministers are not exactly lacking, meet Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI) who prefers the title of “Prof” to “Honorable,” and who performs open heart surgeries for free on Saturdays.


Fig 1: The opened-heart during surgery

It is an uneventful Saturday morning in Accra, and the trotro drivers are being their usual annoying selves.

For everyone this is just another Saturday, but to a young boy of about ten, life is in a balance. A part of his heart’s circuitry is “undeveloped” and needs repair to keep him alive.

One mistake in this complex process and Ghana’s population will reduce by one.

Thus for close to eight hours, a team of Cardio thoracic surgeons led by Prof. Kwabena Frimpong Boateng laboured.

The first surprise was how these doctors and their assisting nurse are able to stand on their feet for hours without losing an iota of concentration.

“On that table you don’t think about anything else but the mission at hand so how can you lose concentration,” asked Prof in response to our inquiries.

“But you can’t cheat nature; when you stand on your feet for that long, you get tired,” asked the reporter.

“Well that’s true, but on that table, that has never been an issue,” Prof responded.

After close to five hours, Prof finally takes a break and a standby surgeon takes his place to join the two (much younger) ones who were working with him.

The open-heart beating after successful completion

By this time it is well past mid-day and Prof sits on a bed in another room to take his lunch. Half an hour later, the body is tired and he takes an unplanned nap on a chair.

Back at the operating Theater, the three young surgeons, all of whom were trained by Prof, are continuing with the complex procedure.

They eventually complete the surgery and sew the young man up.

Prof is now back at the theater to oversee the finishing of the surgery.

Finishing up the surgery

At one point when somethings on the floor were getting in the way of operations as they were wheeling in the transport bed that would take the young patient into the ICU, Prof actually bends down and clears it up himself just in time.

Yes, a Cabinet Minister was picking up debris from the floor of the operating theater to make way.

After the entire operation was finished and the monitor showed the patient’s vital stats in order, Prof finally sat down to rest for the day, ready to go back into the operating theater the following day to continue practising his gifted skills on a weekend when ministerial duty is not calling.

Prof. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng FGA is a Ghanaian physician and cardiothoracic surgeon who established the National Cardiothoracic Center and the Ghana Red Cross Society.

He is also the president of the Ghana Heart Foundation and was the chief executive officer of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra during the Kufuor administration.

He was born in Ghana in 1950 and married to Agnes Boateng with five children. They both live in Accra.

Prof Frimpong Boateng is a founding member of the NPP

Prof Frimpong Boateng is a founding member of the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

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