Dr. Nyaquoi Kargbo, the Registrar General of the Liberia Medical and Dental Council (LMDC) who probed John F. Kennedy Memorial Center’s (JFKMC) handling of the death of Representative Edward Forh’s daughter, Nakita, told the Civil Law Court last Friday that doctors that refused to treat Nakita when she was taken to the hospital acted unethically.
“Nakita was taken to the hospital because she was finding it difficult to breathe so her family took her there to help stabilize her breathing condition, but the hospital refused to attend to her, because she was from New Kru Town community which at the time had suffered the worst of the Ebola outbreak. That assumption was completely wrong,” Dr. Kargbo claimed.
“Just to look at Nakita showing Ebola symptoms and assume that she was confirmed was not right on the part of the hospital authorities. They took the wrong decision to refuse her (leaving her) to die on their premises. This was an ethical breach,” he told the court.
The hospital claimed it was advised not to treat patients coming from New Kru Town, because the area was considered an Ebola epicenter; therefore treatment could be provided only when the patient presented an Ebola Treatment Unit (ETU) clearance.
Nakita Forh, who was asthmatic, was taken to JFK on September 26, 2014, to use its nebulizer (oxygen) to help stabilize her breathing condition, but was allegedly refused by the hospital’s authorities. She later died on the hospital compound, for which her father is seeking US$25 million as damages.
Kargbo’s testimony on Friday stemmed from a summons based on a request from Forh’s legal team to have him appear to provide further explanation to the jury and the court.
Reacting to JFKMC’s ETU clearance requirement for treatment, Kargbo alleged that the ETU was intended to send suspected patients for treatment after conducting a physical examination.He said in Nakita’s case, the hospital did not follow the procedure.
“The decision was wrong and unethical,” he maintained. “The hospital had the appropriate accommodation to have tested Nakita, but they deliberately refused her the use of their respiratory equipment for her to survive,” Dr. Kargbo said.
He said if the hospital had observed that Nakita was suspected of carrying the Ebola virus, they should have quarantined her immediately and subsequently contacted the Ebola Response Team to take her to the ETU, which they also failed to do.
“Other health facilities like Duside in Firestone, SOS, tested patients and those patients that were confirmed were placed in holding centers until the response team came and took them to the ETU,” Kargbo clarified.
He continued: “JKFMC was well equipped and trained to contain the outbreak based on their public announcement after they shut down the hospital and reopened it.”
He added: “With hospitals like JFK, I don’t know why they refused Nakita, who only needed a nebulizer (oxygen) to live.”
He claimed that the hospital was in the wrong to let the girl die in such manner and condition.
Dr. Kargbo and another doctor only identified as Pewee was the pair that investigated several medical doctors of the JFK including its chief medical officer, Dr. Billy Johnson, Dr. David Okoru and nursing staff, and forwarded a recommendation for stern punishment against the doctors.
Kargbo’s committee indicated that the health workers were liable for Nakita’s death, which it described as “negligence.”
It was based on the committee’s report that Rep. Forh instituted a US$25 million lawsuit against the hospital for damages.
The case continues.