Heritage (Monrovia)

14 July 2014

Liberia: Suspected Ebola Patient Dies At JFK - Several Nurses, Others Abandon Work

Photo: Liberia Government
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan being honored(file photo)

Normal working and medical activities at the John F. Kennedy Medical Center were on Friday, July 11, 2014 halted for several hours as a result of the death of a suspected Ebola patient at the hospital.

Ebola is a deadly disease that has no cure.

Located in Sinkor, Monrovia the JFK is the largest referral hospital in Liberia.

A pregnant woman suspected of contracting the Ebola virus died during the late evening hours of Thursday, July 10, 2014 at the Emergency Ward of the hospital.

Some patients admitted at the hospital alleged that both medical doctors and nurses abandoned them when the news broke out that a patient suspected of contracting the deadly Ebola virus had died.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the patients said most of the nurses that were on duty during the night were seen without safety gears.

They further alleged that the nurses abandoned their duties and responsibilities for fear of coming in contact with the deadly virus.

According to them, the alleged abandonment by boththe medical doctors and nurses made their condition to worsen.

"You are asking me if I am working; just go to the ER, the woman that died from Ebola yesterday is there. You can go and see for yourself because press people like to make sure," a nurse who was walking out of the JFK compound asserted when quizzed by our reporter who had gone to the hospital upon getting the scoop.

At the JFK, our reporter observed that authorities of the hospital, including medical doctors were seen moving from one point to another in a confused state.

According to him, some nurses were being counseled and encouraged by some officials of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare to continue their duties and responsibilities.

He said many of the nurses were even refusing to "shake hands or come in body contact" with some of their colleagues or bosses.

Our reporter said the death of the suspected Ebola patient at the hospital also compelled many family members, friends and loved ones of patients admitted to request authorities of the hospital to release their respective patients.

But their request was rejected by the JFK authorities.

He several patients, who were being transferred to the hospital, were taking elsewhere by their family members or friends for fear of contracting the virus at the JFK.

When contacted, the Public Relation Officer of the hospital, Daylue Goah, confirmed the death of the unidentified pregnant woman.

He told reporters that prior to her death, the woman was showing symptoms of the Ebola virus.

He said the woman was later taken to the isolation center of the hospital.

Mr. Goah noted that the fear amongst the nurses cannot be ruled out, saying the nurses are still "doing their work."

He disclosed that specimen of the dead lady would be sent to the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare for laboratory assessment to establish whether or not she (pregnant woman) died from Ebola.

Meanwhile, several family members have expressed fear and concern over the wellbeing of their relatives admitted at the hospital.

They termed as "risky" the abandonment of their relatives and friends by medical practitioners at the JFK.

"Only the patients are in the hospital. They send for the MOHSW people to come and take the body from here; up to now they are not here. We are also afraid because, we don't know what is happening to them inside there.

So, we want them to release our patients so we can take them elsewhere because, the doctors and nurses too are running away," averred one Mr. Moses Laftey.

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