Jurors Decide on Rep. Edward Forh’s Daughter’s Death Case
Monrovia – Jurors at the Civil Law Court at the Temple of Justice are expected Wednesday to decide whether or not the John F. Kennedy Memorial Medical Center is liable for the death of Representative Edward Forh’s daughter.
Report by Bettie K. Johnson-Mbayo /[email protected]
Rep. Forh in his complaint requested the court to order the JFK Hospital to pay US$25 million in damages for the “wrongful death” of Nakita Forh allegedly caused by the hospital.
The case, which began during the September 2016 Term of the Civil Law Court, would come to a conclusion today with a verdict from the jurors after final arguments are heard from the prosecution and defense team.
The prosecution team produced several witnesses, including Rep Forh himself, who testified that when he first took his daughter to the JFK Hospital, he was told by a doctor, Dr. Okoror, to take the girl home and return the following day.
He told the court that when he returned with his daughter the following day, he was informed by the hospital again refused to admit his daughter; neither did they attend to her.
“My daughter died due to the negligence of the doctors and nurses at the J.F.K. Hospital but the J.FK has a bunch of wicked people,” he told the court during his testimony.
According him, he reported the case the Liberia Medical and Dental Council (LMDC) to investigate the action of the hospital and the council, according to him, declared in their investigate report that the JFK Hospital was liable for the death of his daughter due to their negligence.
Also testifying before the court, the Secretary and Registrar of the LMDC, Dr. Nyaquoi Kargbo, who served as the prosecution’s fourth witness, said that the case was brought to the council’s attention by Representative Forh and it was investigated.
The LMDC is a statutory body enacted into law in 2010 was responsible to regulate the practice of medicine in Liberia and in so doing had the mandate to investigate issue of negligence and malpractice.
“The actual cause of the patient’s death has not been scientifically known because in order to do that, an autopsy should have been performed. Clinically, the cause of death in this case is based on the history of patient, the laboratory test and physical examination,” Dr. Kargbo said.
According to Dr. Kargbo, the Council’s investigation result which held the doctors and nurses liable for the patient’s death, recommended that the hospital’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Billy Johnson, Dr. David Okoror and nursing staff be held liable and should face penalty for the death of the patient.
The penalties, according to Dr. Kargbo, include fines, official warning from their respective boards and suspension of licenses.
The defense lawyers produced numerous witnesses, including the chief Medical Officer Dr. Billy Johnson and the former Dean of A.M Dogloitti Medical School Kanda Vuyu Golokai.
The JFK Administrator in an answer to the complaint of Representative Forh indicated that the lawmaker did not have any formal medical training, but chose to take his daughter back home where she reportedly died before taking her dead body back to the hospital.
Assistant Health Minister for Curative Services Catherine Cooper in her testimony alluded that the Ebola had a dramatic effect on the country because at the time of the disease outbreak, fear loomed among health workers and that they were forced to flee from health facilities across the country.
“Other diseases were affected due to the closure of health centers and the abandonment by health workers at health facilities,” said Cooper who also claimed that the epidemic caused labor shortage in the health sector.
According to Assistant Minister Cooper, the Ebola syndrome was common to other diseases like malaria and tuberculosis (TB) making it to be even more deadly.
She made the revelation when she testified at the Civil Law Court on behalf of the administration of the John F. Kennedy Hospital, where the hospital had been sued by Montserrado County District #16 Edward for the death of his daughter.
The late Nakita, who reportedly suffered breathing complications, was taken to the JFK Hospital on September 27, 2014 during the Ebola crisis but her father, Representative Forh, claimed that she was refused by doctors, causing her to die on the hospital compound on September 28, 2014.
During Dr. Golokai’s testimony, he condemned the report relied on by Representative Forh from the LMDC.
Forh was relied upon an investigative report submitted by a two-man ad hoc investigative committee, which comprised Dr. Nyaquoi Kargbo and Dr. Moses Pewu. The report established that the J. F. K. Hospital’s refusal to admit the lawmaker’s daughter was a poor judgment on the part of the hospital.
The verdict of the jurors was expected Tuesday but was postponed based on an order by Judge Yusif Kaba.