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Acting Assistant Health Minister for Curative Services Doctor Catherine Cooper says health facilities here did not have restraining power as the police to stop probable and suspected Ebola cases from going back to the communities during the 2014 Ebola crisis here.

Probable and suspected Ebola cases “should not have gone back to the community,” but the health facilities here “did not have restraining power as a police.” Doctor Cooper said.
Doctor Coopercomments came when she stood as special defense witness for State lawyers representing the indicted John F. Kennedy Medical Center at the hearing on Tuesday, 11 Octoberin the US25m claims filed by Montserrado County Representative Edward Forh.

She told the Civil Law Court “A” that she was not aware that Ebola Centers here had compliance officers. Her testimony was in response during a cross – examination that sought to establish if it was not a fact that during the crisis, suspected or probable Ebola cases were not allowed to go back into the communities and if the Ebola Team did not have compliance agents assigned with them.

Montserrado County Rep. Dr. Edward Forh sued the State – run hospital and its officials for alleged negligence that led to his daughter Nakita D. Forh’s death in September 2014, claiming US$25m.

But the hospital has since denied any act of negligence, arguing that the only culprit in the death of Nakita is her father Dr. Forh.  Witnesses from the hospital including nurses and doctors claimed to have tried to persuade Mr. Forh to go through screening processes enshrined in protocols meant to curtail Ebola spread, but he allegedly resisted their advices and took his daughter home on 26 September 2014.

The hospital said Nakita was not breathing when she was examined on 27 September 2014 by nurses when her father returned her to the hospital, and pronounced her dead. Mr. Forh had testified that his daughter Nakita was an asthma patient, and that he had taken her to clinics before later taking her to the JFK to revive her breath with the hospital’s nebulizer.

Witness Cooper said on Tuesday that several policies were instituted to reduce the transmission of the virus in an effort to provide protection for the population.  But she said there was a high risk of denial and fear among the population, and as such so many times there was resistance from the communities. She said it limited the ability of the Ministry of Health to enforce some of its policies.

By Winston W. Parley

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