Family members of the late Nakita Forh, daughter of Representative Edward Forh, yesterday wept bitterly in the Civil Law Court in Monrovia after a six member jury announced that the John F. Kennedy Medical Center (JFKMC) was not responsible for her death.
Rep. Forh sought US$25 million as damages for the death of his daughter, which he claimed was the result of negligence on the part of medical doctors assigned at the hospital.
Nakita, who suffered from asthma, died on September 27, 2014, on the grounds of the hospital while gasping for air because she was denied the use of the hospital’s nebulizer during the height of the Ebola crisis in the country. For their failure to provide his daughter medical care when she sought treatment at the JFK hospital, Rep. Forh was claiming US$25 million in damages for her death.
After several hours of closed door deliberations in the Chamber of Judge Yussif Kaba, the jury came down with a unanimous non-liable (not guilty) verdict in favor of 11 health practitioners who Rep. Forh accused of being responsible for his daughter’s death.
After the jury’s decision, lawyers representing the lawmaker announced an appeal against the verdict to the Supreme Court.
The Forh family declined to speak with journalists who for the past months had converged at the court to follow the trial that is considered the first of its kind in the country.
The case was interesting because it was the first time in this country for a sitting lawmaker to file a lawsuit against a hospital claiming damages for the death of his daughter, one of those in the queue remarked.
Rep. Forth accused Dr. Wvannie-Mae Scott-McDonald, JFK General Administrator; Munah Tarpeh, Deputy for Administration; Tannie Sneh, Nursing Supervisor; Mary Howard Nyaquie, Administrator; Dr. Korto Dorbor; Dr. Billy C. Johnson, Chief Medical Officer; Dr. David Okiror, Staff Physician; Professor Joseph Njoh, Department Chairman on Internal Medicine and the Administrator of the Ministry of Health, of his daughter’s death.
The lawsuit against the healthcare givers, according to Counselor Arthur Johnson, lead lawyer for the Forh family, was based on what he described as a “very devastating and frustrating experience,” which he claims, caused the family significant damages and an unforgettable state of trauma for their daughter’s death.
Cllr. Johnson argued that Nakita died in the arms of her father on the grounds of the hospital while struggling and crying for help.
For that reason, Rep. Forh was seeking not less than US$10 million in general damages; US$5 million in punitive damages; another US$5 million in compensatory damages; and US$5 million in substantial damages.