Doctor Vuyu Kanba Golakai, the vice president and Dean of AM Dogliotti College of Medicine at the University of Liberia (UL), yesterday told Civil Law Court ‘A’ that the Liberia Medical and Dental Council (LMDC) did not authorize Dr. Nyaquoi Kargbo’s committee to probe the John F. Kennedy Medical Center (JFKMC).
Dr. Golakai’s testimony contradicted the LMDC’s claim that the hospital was responsible for the death of Rep. Edward Forh’s daughter Nakita.
Dr. Golakai testified as defense expert witness, but alleged that the Dr. Kargbo Committee’s recommendation was never accepted by members of the LMDC, and that such a report should not have been used by Rep. Forh to institute a US$25 million lawsuit against the JFK.
Dr. Kargbo, the Registrar General of the council, and another doctor only identified as Pewee, was the pair that investigated several medical doctors assigned at the JFKMC including its Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Billy Johnson, Dr. David Okoru and nursing staff. They then forwarded a recommendation calling for strong punishment against those they investigated.
The Kargbo Committee claimed that the health workers were liable for Nakita’s death, which they described as “negligence.”
It was based on that report that Rep. Forh instituted a US$25 million negligence lawsuit against the hospital for damages.
In his testimony, Dr. Golakai said whenever a committee is set up to investigate such professional matters, their findings and recommendations are expected to be approved by members of the LMDC, which he claimed did not happen in Kargbo’s case.
According to Dr. Golakai, the procedure used by the LMDC chairman to appoint members of the committee was contrary to their normal practice.
He said that LMDC’s procedures stipulate that a member serving on an investigative committee should be an official on the Grievance and Ethics Committee, of which he alleged Kargbo and Pewee were not members.
“They ignored the functions of the Grievance and Ethics Committee and did their own thing,” the expert witness claimed.
“The chairman erred to have appointed both Kargbo and Pewee, who were not statutory members of the LMDC that would have made an important decision for the council,” he alleged, adding, “they were only administrative staff, and should not have been on any committee to investigate that matter.”
According to Dr. Golakai, their chairman also erred to have constituted a two-member investigative committee.
“Our policies provide that investigative committees should constitute three or more members, and not two,” Golakai told the court.
He denied that the report was presented to the LMDC for discussion on its merits and demerits.
“The LMDC did not evaluate the draft report before it reached the public,” he said.
“They released the report without being given the authority to do so. Those were some of the concerns we raised as council members, and they are yet to address them before the matter reached this far,” Golakai told the court.
Besides, he claimed that the report was marred by several ethical breaches.
Nakita Forh, who was asthmatic, was on September 26, 2014 taken to the JFK, to use its nebulizer (oxygen) to help stabilize her breathing condition, and was allegedly refused service. She later died on the hospital’s compound for which her father is seeking US$25 million as damages.
The case continues.