Monrovia — Rep. Rustonlyn Suacoco Dennis (District #4, Montserrado) said she will not seek treatment at the John F Kennedy Memorial Medical Center under its current administration for fear of her life.
Rep. Dennis made the assertions during the appearance of the administration of JFK Medical Center before the leadership of the House of Representatives on Monday, July 6.
She said her decision is based on the 'wrong treatment' meted against the late Representative Nagbe Sloh (District #2, Sinoe County) who sought treatment at the medical facility and the staff's 'wrong perceptions' that members of the Legislature are responsible for allocating low budget to JFK.
But the Hospital, through its Deputy Administrator, Dama Yekeson Koffa deferred with Rep. Dennis, and stated Rep. Sloh was accorded the best care.
The JFK Hospital's administration had been invited by the House of Representatives to explain how photographs of their fallen colleague leaked on social media.
In the meeting held on Monday, July 6 at the Capitol, the Hospital's Administration led by its Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Jerry Brown expressed regret over the action and promised to launch an internal investigation to ascertain what went wrong and to put in place measures to stop the recurrence of the action.
"We must admit that with the display of such an Honorable individual photo on the social media, as I said from the beginning when we started, we greatly regret that," Dr. Brown apologized.
"We were disturbed when we saw that picture ourselves. We are again saying it is a bridge of our policy and we highly regret it. We are sorry. We will do the best we can to ensure that this doesn't happen again."
Mrs. Koffa, and the nurse who attended to Rep. Sloh, Gifty Bernard, taking the witness' stand separately, explained the photo making rounds on social may have been taken by a male identified as George Sloh who accompanied the late Rep. Sloh to the hospital.
Koffa alleged that George Sloh, who claimed to be a son of Rep. Sloh was caught photographing the deceased by a nurse attending to him.
The nurse, Gifty Bernard said she immediately requested him to delete the photo and told him it was prohibited to photograph at the medical ward and he consented to delete and apologized.
When further pressed to explain the privacy and confidentiality protocols of the hospital, Mrs. Koffa, who happen to be the wife of Rep. J. Fonati Koffa (District #2, Grand Kru County) stated there are strict privacy and confidentiality rules in place at JFK that barred photographing and relatives from seen patients when it is not the designated visiting hour.
However, because of the lawmaker's status and his 'grave' condition, she ordered the nurses not to stop any relative from entering the Intensive Care Unit (ICU)
"When we are providing care to patients, and when it entails exposing the patient, in any way, shape or form, we primarily ask family members to leave," she explained.
"An exception was done in this case, primarily because of the status in which the Honorable was brought into the facility was very grave. There were many members of the House of Representatives that came in, there were other family members that identified themselves as partner, son and other relatives of the Honorable that we allowed into the premise."
"We transferred him up to the Critical Care Unit and I was present when we accepted the Honorable into that room. We ensured that the family was present, and I made sure to mention to the rest of the staff that at no point in time should we ask anyone to leave which was normally what we do."
Rep. Dennis disagreed with her, and argued that the hospital's action was deliberate and tantamount to discouraging lawmakers and other officials from seeking treatment at the facility.
"Madam Koffa said because of his condition, she allowed people to come in. Taking him as a patience, I think that was totally wrong," Rep. Dennis vented.
She added that an unknown person with wrong intention could have infiltrated the group of people and harm their colleague. In addition, stated that health facilities in Liberia always breach confidentiality protocols.
"I was in America on a high core panel and someone posted that District #4 has just lost their inept Representative. And every sentence was in error and I just laughed. So, let JFK know that while we're alive, some people in Liberia want us dead. So, that level of a vulnerability is unacceptable."
She continues: "We are public figures, we are politicians. These are the reasons African politicians don't like to take treatment in their home country. The confidentiality issue is a serious problem. Looking at Hon. Sloh's picture, I told my family whenever I go unconscious, don't take me there. It is a serious problem."