The father of deceased “asthmatic” patient Nakita D. Forh, Montserrado County Representative Edward Forh, has branded doctors and health workers at government’s major referral hospital John F. Kennedy Medical Center as “bunch of wicked people.”
Dr. Forh (not medical doctor) broke down in tears as first witness in his US$25m action for wrongful death case against the JFK Hospital at the Civil Law Court “A” on Wednesday, 21 September.
Ebola killed thousands of victims here; including Liberian and foreign medical doctors and nurses during the crisis, though others died of unrelated cases as the health system miserably broke down during the crisis.
But Rep. Forh chose to personally take the government hospital to court on a US$25m suit on grounds that it refused to admit the victim despite allegedly informing nurses that he had obtain health report from a clinic to authenticate that Nakita was an asthma patient and not an Ebola patient.
He told the court and a nine- man jury panel that an intern and other nurses who refused to admit his daughter had informed him that authorities had instructed them not to take any case that they saw to be severe until such patient had obtained Ebola clearance from an Ebola Treatment Unit or ETU. Hed claimed the authorities at the JFK withdrew the license of the intern and nurses that passed on the information of clearance to him.
He said Nakita died before doctors were dressed in personal protective equipment to collect her corpse when President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf had heard the news and visited the scene. He expressed desperation seeking to personally use the hospital’s asthma machine to restore Nakita’s breath, but he was denied.
He said Nakita had first complained of fever around September 15 to 20, 2014, and was later diagnosed and treated for malaria. By 21 September, 2014, he said, a clinic confirmed that she had asthma, and it attacked her severely after three days on 25 September.
After she was attended to by a physician on 26 September 2014, he said, they initially returned home in New Kru Town, and based on the physician’s advice, he took her to the JFK Hospital by 6pm of September 26, 2014 when she started breathing severely.
He said JFK refused her on September 26, 2014, and that when they returned the next day, they also allegedly refused before she died after waiting and begging for hours to admit her. The Hospital is yet to begin its testimony; but it said in its response that Rep. Forh is the only culprit for Nakita’s death.
Judge Yusif D. Kaba summarized JFK’s response to the Jury panel, saying the JFK recalled how many doctors died and measures were taken to avoid medical workers from further dying.
The JFK said the Ministry of Health developed a guideline on how patients would be admitted to hospitals and treated, adding that when Rep. Forh carried his daughter in his car, nurses saw her condition and the area she came from – New Kru Town where the Ebola virus disease prevalence rate was so high at the time.
As such, he said, the JFK said nurses were afraid to consider at Nakita because, they said, the case looked like Ebola. But when they suggested to her father that they should carry her to the Ebola center for testing as per the rule, Rep. Forh insisted that Nakita had asthma and not Ebola.
JFK said he, therefore, refused to allow the doctors to take Nakita for Ebola test, and rather took her home in his car. The next day, JFK said, he came back and forced his way into the hospital, hurt one of the security guards on duty and put his daughter on the floor of the hospital.
According to the JFK, doctors found her dead when they came and put her on a stretcher and checked her.
By Winston W. Parley-Edited by George Barpeen