No Functional CT Scan Equipment in Liberia

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Liberia’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Arzo Aquoi testified yesterday at the Criminal Court ‘A’ that there is no functional CT Scan and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine in the country to examine defendant Vandalark Patrick, who has been indicted by government.

CT Scan, also called X-ray computer Tomography (X-ray CT) or Computerized Axial Tomography scan (CAT scan), makes use of computer-processed combinations of many X-ray images taken from different angles to produce cross-sectional (tomographic) images (virtual slices) of specific areas of a scanned object, allowing the user to see inside the object without cutting.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a medical imaging technique used in radiology to image the anatomy and the physiological processes of the body in both health and disease.

Vandalark’s legal team has earlier asked the court for leave to have him seek medical treatment outside the country, based on a recommendation by Dr. James M. Lewis Deputy Medical Officer of the SOS Medical Center. He said that no CT scan and MRI machine are available to diagnose the defendant’s medical status.

It was based on that recommendation that government lawyers asked the court to order the chief medical officer of Liberia to appear before the court to clarify whether or not there are functional CT scan and MRI machines in the country.
In his testimony, Dr. Aquoi admitted that Dr. Lewis’s recommendation was correct because those facilities were not in the country.

After Dr. Aquoi clarification, Judge Boima Kontoe granted the defense’s request for defendant Patricks to travel abroad to seek medical diagnoses and treatment.

The medical report, signed by Dr. James M. Lewis of SOS, Acting Medical Officer, recommended that Mr. Patricks has been advised to seek medical care abroad where a CT scan or MRL can be used for evaluation and treatment of his case.
Dr. Lewis’ report claimed that on March 17, Patricks went to that facility, which they said was his third time being taken there.

“Our patient had complained that he still feels pains in the right loin where it is alleged that he was injured by a sharp instrument, while enroute to the police station on the February 14,” the medical report stated.

It went on, “physical examination revealed a scar (1X1CM) on the right loin and x-ray examination revealed abnormalities.”

It was based on the report that lawyers representing Mr. Patricks requested Criminal Court ‘A’ where their client is expected to stand trial, for special leave to enable him travel out of the country for medical treatment.

However, state lawyers argued that the request for special relief to travel outside of the jurisdiction for medical treatment assuming that there is no CT scan and MRI machine in the country was not any basis for granting the leave, pleading with the court to deny the request.

They further argued that the Jackson F. Doe Memorial Hospital in Tapitta, Nimba County, has the CT scan or MRI Machine and other associated instruments that are good and properly functional.

Besides, the Firestone Medical Center in the Du-side area, in Margibi County, the lawyers contended, has similar facilities, but Patricks, they said, has failed and neglected to make use of them.

“And that the report from the SOS which is short of being a referral hospital and signed by its acting medical doctor, who is a professional and a personnel doctor to the defendant, needs to be verified and attested by other medical doctors, who are in like capacity as well,” government lawyers said.

Defendant Patricks is being tried on multiple charges, including criminal libel against President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

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