Authorities at the John F. Kennedy (JFK) Medical Center in Sinkor have confirmed the closure of the hospital’s emergency ward to the public for fear of the spread of the Ebola virus.
All nurses have been reassigned on the regular ward where all patients, be they emergency or out-patients, are being processed.
It all started when a suspected Ebola patient (name withheld), who had been brought from the borough of New Kru Town Thursday, died Friday morning at the hospital.
Reports began filtering in that nurses at the hospital’s emergency ward and Maternity Unit had downed their working tools in protest, leaving patients unattended to.
The deceased, according to reports, showed all of the Ebola-related symptoms, including red eyes, vomiting, and/or high fever.
The nurses’ fear stemmed from the insufficient supply of the personal protective equipment (PPE), which had left them vulnerable to contracting the virus.
In a statement, however, the JFK Administration, through its communications department, said that contrary to the report, the maternity nurses were not on protest, “but rather taking precautionary measures after an alleged Ebola case was reported in the emergency section of the hospital.”
Normal working activities are currently in place, with surgeries and deliveries going on, the Management said.
The JFK, in its statement, further explained that a patient came on Thursday from New Kru Town through the emergency section of the hospital and, according to a medical practitioner assigned at that ward, the patient showed signs of the Ebola virus, and later died.
“With fear of passing on the virus, four nurses who are assigned in the emergency section immediately contacted the administration, which subsequently passed on the information to the Ebola response team at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MOH/SW). Said response team responded in time to the situation,” the statement said.
Up to Friday and throughout the weekend, JFK said, the MOH/SW was in the process of taking specimens of the expired patient for laboratory analysis to confirm whether or not the patient died of the virus.
Management, however, emphasized that the Maternity Unit is up and running, and there was no need to panic as the situation was under control.
Meanwhile, as the emergency remains closed, the JFK Administration has noted the concerns of the nurses assigned there, and says it is doing all it can to ensure that the dead patient is removed for burial.
In a related development, members of the National Health Workers Association of Liberia (NAHWAL) over the weekend held a Memorial Service in loving memory of their colleagues who lost their lives in recent months to Ebola, while serving humanity.
Two nurses died in April this year from the Foyah-Boma Hospital in Lofa County, while others died at various locations in and around Monrovia.