Liberia Dental Council Finds Women of Hope Health Center Liable for Wrongful Death
Monrovia – The Liberia Medical and Dental Council (LMDC) has found the Women of Hope Hospital International liable for the ‘wrongful death’ of Pastor Desiree Fahnbulleh.
Report by Betty Johnson Mbayo, [email protected]
“While we consider her intention to assist in good faith, it is difficult to ignore the death of a patient who could have been referred or for whom specialist care could have been sought.” – Liberia Medical Dental and Dental Council
Mrs. Fahnbulleh died on December 8, 2016 at age 41 during child birth at the hospital.
Her family has decided to file a US$6 million action for damages against the hospital with 6th Judicial Circuit Civil Law Court at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia.
Mrs. Fahnbulleh had a 3rd and 4th child by C-section. She was advised to do a bi-lateral tubal litigation to prevent another pregnancy which was done at the hospital, according to the complaint filed by the family with the Court.
She, however, got pregnant a year later, but refused to abort based on her religious beliefs, the complaint disclosed.
On November 24, 2016, Mrs. Fahnbulleh went to the hospital for a regular check-up but was advised by Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah, the head doctor at the facility that the C-section was scheduled for December 18, 2016, but the ultrasound expected time for delivery was January 2, 2017.
Dr. Jallah traveled on December 8, leaving Dr. Lorraine Cooper in charge. Prior to her scheduled delivery date, Mrs. Fahnbulleh made a regular visit to the hospital, but was advised upon examination by Dr. Cooper that she needed an emergency surgery the same day.
Her Husband, Larry Fahnbulleh, said prior to his arrival at the hospital that day, his wife was already sent to the surgery room. He said he didn’t consent neither his wife consented to the surgery as the space for signature on the consent form was empty.
According to him, the hospital asked him to sign before seeing his new born and wife, which he did and the baby was given to him, but wasn’t given the opportunity to see his wife.
He was later informed via a phone call that his wife had expired, he said.
In Dr. Jallah response to the lawsuit said the deceased was tested positive 22 months after the tubal ligation procedure, dismissing the claim that the deceased got pregnant a year after her tubal ligation.
She denied persuading the deceased from giving birth abroad as stated by her husband in count 4 of the complaint.
Hope for Women is the only antenatal care facility in the country.
Dr. Jallah denied making promises to the deceased and husband that she will solely do the surgery as claimed by him.
The hospital also rejected that the husband was compelled to sign the surgery consent form.
She insisted that the hospital was not negligible in the performance of its professional duties to the patient and therefore cannot be held responsible for wrongful death.
The hospital noted in its response to the complaint that it’s being persecuted for services they rendered in good faith and with diligence to the deceased consistent and in keeping with their oaths as licensed health practitioners in Liberia.
But the Liberia Medical Dental and Dental Council (LMDC) noted that Dr. Jallah has many of experience as practicing as a general physician in obstetrics and Gynecology.
“It is our opinion that a case of failed bilateral tubal litigation, high-risk pregnancy, and absence of specialist care ultimately led to the death of Mrs. Fahnbulleh,” LMDC noted in an investigative report.
The disciplinary committee ordered that Dr. Jallah employs the service of an OB/GYN specialist as a consultant to handle special cases beyond and above her qualification.
They warned that subsequent action will lead to the suspension of her license.
Dr. Cooper, according to the investigation, acted beyond and above her scope of practice. “She took responsibility of a patient that was far beyond her scope of practice as a general practitioner,” he report indicated.
“While we consider her intention to assist in good faith, it is difficult to ignore the death of a patient who could have been referred or for whom specialist care could have been sought,” the investigative committee said.
Dr. Cooper and the nurse on duty S. Neal were suspended for six months following the investigation.
The autopsy report in the possession of FPA identified “shock” is the cause of death.
But the Dr. Jallah and the hospital condemned the autopsy report, terming it as incomplete, uncertain, questionable and inconclusive failure to state the dosage of chemical administered.