Monrovia – The John F. Kennedy medical Hospital continues to come under public criticisms for alleged careless handling of patients resulting to numerous deaths and abandonment of people in need of medical attention.
“The hospital, the Chief Medical officer, Dr. Billy Johnson, Dr. David Okiror and Nursing Staff on duty are liable and should face penalty for the death of this patient. The penalties should include fines, official warning from their respective boards and suspension of licenses”, Investigative report, Liberia Medical and Dental Council
Two of the deaths that continue to spark public debate is that of Little Shaki Kamara who was shot by security forces in the West Point community and Nakita Forh, the daughter of Montserrado County lawmaker Edward Forh.
Lawmaker Forh has already instituted a lawsuit against the hospital for the death of his daughter and the case is ongoing at the Civil law Court at the Temple of Justice but an investigative report conducted by the Liberia Medical and Dental Council (LMDC), the parent body of medical practitioners in the country has indicated that the JFK, the Chief Medical Officer and other staff on duty should be held liable for the death of Nakita.
In the report released on February 23, 2015 following the death of Nakita, the LMDC in its findings established those on duty failed to attend to the patient which led to her death.
In its recommendation, the investigative team comprising Dr. Nyanquoi K. Kargba, Registrar General/LMDC, member and Dr. Moses G. Y. Pewu, Resource Director/LMDC, Chairman found that the in all the explanations made by the doctors and nurses there is no mention of temperature recording on the patient which is very important in triage.
The report found that the Chief Medical Officer erred when he said temperature was recorded in the chart and was asked to present the chart and what he presented the next day as the patients’ chart was grossly inadequate.
High level of negligence
According to the investigation, the CMP in his report there was no temperature to indicate that patient was attended to stating that being an asthmatic patient was not given a nebulizer or oxygen to help stabilize her breathing.
Stated the report: “The attitude of the health workers (doctors, nurses) to this patient showed severe level of negligence”.
The report found that the entire JFK team present at the hearing believed that this is a case of misdiagnosis of patient Forh which contributed to her death.
During the time the patient was taken to the hospital, the investigation found that she was left with an intern to attend to her in such critical condition.
“The reliance on an Intern to make a decision on whether or not to admit and treat a patient questions the ethical and professional conduct of Dr. David Okiror”, the report added.
Liable for death
The LMDC investigation found the JFK, the Chief Medical Officer, Nurses and other staff on duty liable for the death of Nakita.
“The hospital, the Chief Medical officer Dr. Billy Johnson, Dr. David Okiror and Nursing Staff on duty are liable and should face penalty for the death of this patient. The penalties should include fines, official warning from their respective boards and suspension of licenses”, stated the report.
The LDMC noted in the report that the JFK hospital has in the past ignored the payment of fines levied by the council and the LDMC recommended legal actions.
Continue the report: “In a number of cases, the JFK hospital has deliberately ignored payment of fines levied by the LMDC. We recommended further legal actions against the hospital to bring it in compliance with the statutory mandate of the council”.
The council vowed at the time to impose penalties against the JFK, the Chief Medical Officer, Dr. David Okiror and the Nursing staff.
“Two weeks as of March 30, 2015, the Disciplinary and Ethics Committee of the Liberia Medical and Dental Council shall impose the penalties through written communication to the Hospital, the Chief Medical Officer, Dr. David Okiror and the Nursing Staff.
The Intern on duty was officially operating under the hospital and its licenses staff, and therefore, cannot be held liable in this case. However, a note for the record will be included in her file at the LMDC”, the report declared.
Senator Weah Speaks out
In the wake of a recent report by the Institute for Research and Democratic Empowerment grading Montserrado County Senator George Weah as one of the senators with the least participation in plenary deliberations, the lawmaker has spoken on the JFK saga assuring that he will work with his colleagues to ensure solution to the problems at the hospital.
IREDD stated in its 2015 Legislative scorecard report “On the contrary, there were five Senators who got the lowest in plenary Participation; those Senators include: Sen. George M. Weah of Montserrado County, Sen. Jim W. Tornnlah of Margibi County, Prince Y. Johnson of Nimba County, Sen. Henry W. Yallah of Bong County and Sen. Sando D. Johnson of Bomi County”.
Senator Weah who is currently in Abuja, Federal Republic of Nigeria attending the Extra -Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament Montserrado County has expressed his concern over the public outcry and recent media reports of the administrative problems and challenges plaguing the John F. Kennedy Medical Center in Monrovia.
A statement issued by Senator Weah stated “Senator Weah, who is currently in Abuja, the federal Republic of Nigeria to attend an Extra -ordinary session of the Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS ) parliament, assures the Liberian public that upon his return to the country, he will continue his engagement with his colleagues, particularly the Senate health committee of which he is a member, and the Montserrado Legislative Caucus on how the situation at the JFK Medical Center can be comprehensively address with the goal to ensure improved service and administrative accountability”.
According to the statement, Senator Weah affirms that he will sustain his lobby and advocacy among his colleagues in the legislature for the JFK Medical Center, the Jackson F. Doe Hospital in Nimba County, the Phebe Hospital in Bong county, Redemption Hospital in in Montserrado County, the CH Rennie Hospital in Margibi county and other Key health facilities around the country to be placed high on the scale of national priority in the arrangements and discussions for Fiscal year 2016 -2017.
Senator Weah said he has communicated with the leadership of the Congress For Democratic Change to allow its Grievance and Ethics Committee to examine and seek clarification from Senator Dr. Peter Coleman, who is a member of the CDC legislative Caucus, on his monthly receipt of professional service fees from the JFK Medical Center.
“Upon his return to the country, senator Weah will receive the report of the CDC Grievance and Ethics committee and consider its recommendations”, the Montserrado County Senator indicated.
The JFK has in recent time come under strong criticism after a former employee, Daylue Goah released sensitive information on activities at the hospital. Amongst the information, Goah disclosed patients are abandoned and left to die, mass undignified burial of the dead when the bodies are not collected by family members. Goah has also been releasing checks and other financial documents indicating how the hospital has been sending thousands of dollars to individuals.
Samwar Fallah, firstname.lastname@example.org