Health Minister Designate May Not Be Confirmed, As Several Liberians Call On President Weah To Withdraw Nomination

Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah

Tension is said to be brewing amongst Liberians on the appointment of Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah as Liberia’s Minister of Health by President George Manneh Weah, while at the same time calling on the Liberian Senate not to confirm her in order to avoid what they referred to as catastrophe in the Liberian Health sector.

Some of the citizens referred to Dr. Jallah as a ‘killer’ who is standing trial for “wrongful death.” According to officials of the Liberia Medical and Dental Council of Liberia, the Health Minister-designate license was also seized by the Council for a wrongful death at her health center the matter is still in court.

The citizens said base on these allegations and the fact that the matter is still pending for adjudication, Dr. Jallah should not be appointed to head the nation’s health sector.

They described that Dr. Jallah as a very unprofessional medical practitioner who have displayed some medical lapses while performing her duty and therefore, should not be entrusted with the lives of the Liberian people as Health Minister.

In December last year, several members of the New Generation International Ministries, wearing black, tearfully protested in front of the Hope for Women Hospital in Paynesville, against what they called the “wrongful death” of their founder and senior pastor, Rev. Desiree P.G. Fahnbulleh. Dr. Jallah is the foundation and owner of the Hope for Women Hospital in Paynesville.

The weeping and angry congregation called for the closure of the Hope for Women Health Center demanding justice for death of Rev. Fahnbulleh who spent over 15 years in the ministry.

Rev. Simeon L. Dunbar, Senior Pastor of the Liberty Christian Church and head of the Heal the Land Prayer Network, and Deacon Larry Fahnbulleh, husband of the deceased and other pastors were part of the march for justice.

Rev. Fahnbulleh, 40, died on Thursday, December 8 at the Hope for Women Hospital during childbirth. Her baby survived.

She is survived by five children: Alvin, 17, Delvin, 13, Jevee, 4, Simeon, 2, and Kim (10 days old), her husband Deacon Larry Fahnbulleh; several spiritual children and her spiritual parents, Rev. and Mother Simeon L. Dunbar.

Meanwhile, at a press conference in the edifice of the Church in the Twelve Houses community, Paynesville, Rev. Dunbar and Deacon Fahnbulleh accused “Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah and Dr. Laurena Cooper” of the death of Rev. Fahnbulleh, owing to “unprofessional medical advice and a surgical mistake.”

Rev. Dunbar and Deacon Fahnbulleh told newsmen that in 2014, Dr. Jallah had medically advised Rev. Fahnbulleh that owing to her two-time childbirth by cesarean section (C-section), it was prudent that she stopped having children, which she accepted.

Deacon Fahnbulleh said: “My wife and I agreed with advice from others, and Dr. Jallah did the surgery for Tubal Ligations or tying her tubes to prevent her from getting pregnant. We agreed because Dr. Jallah told us that it is 99.5 percent effective.”

“Unfortunately, in May 2016, when Rev. Fahnbulleh went to the same hospital, she was pronounced four months pregnant. I almost sued Dr. Jallah for the surgical error which allowed my wife to get pregnant again.”

Rev. Dunbar stated: “Because Dr. Jallah had medically assured Rev. Fahnbulleh and her husband that she would ensure her safe delivery, she discouraged Rev. Fahnbulleh from going to Ghana to seek medical treatment. Dr. Jallah has her medical file, and realizing that they were denied visas to go to the USA, I advised them based on their decision that they made to stay and trust Dr. Jallah,” Rev. Dunbar said.

They also stated that in November, Rev. Fahnbulleh was examined and told that she would give birth by December 10. “Surprisingly on December 4, a nurse called Rev. Fahnbulleh to tell her that Dr. Jallah would be travelling for an important visit and return on December 12. We felt Dr. Jallah had abandoned

Rev. Fahnbulleh after giving assurance of being responsible for her delivery,” Rev. Dunbar said. “Since December, my wife had been visiting the hospital frequently and we had been in prayer to buy time since Dr. Jallah had abandoned her.”

Deacon Fahnbulleh told journalists that on Thursday, December 8, his wife (Rev. Fahnbulleh) was “hijacked to undergo surgery” without his consent or anybody’s approval.

He added: “When I went to the hospital, my wife was already in the Emergency Room and in a state of confusion I was given a paper to sign an approval for the surgery while she was already there. I signed to avoid further argument and later I was told to sign where my wife should have signed.

“Again, after an argument, and to avoid any further argument because my wife was already in the ER, I wrote her name where she should have signed.

“Later, we were told the child was safe, but observing the reactions from the nurses, I knew something was wrong. But we were not told that my wife was dead until the following morning at about10:00am that she died yesterday (Thursday) from heart failure – which I seriously challenged.”

For his part, Rev. Dorbor said the “Church would continue to protest until the government closes down the hospital or Dr. Jallah explains actually what happened in the ER.”

Dr. Jallah on December 18, in an interview with reporters extended her condolences to “Mr. Fahnbulleh, the deceased’s husband, the children and the church for the death of Rev. Fahnbulleh…” and “prayed for God to strengthen them.”

Dr. Jallah said the protest by church members is misinterpretation of their work after they tirelessly tried to save Rev. Fahnbulleh’s life.

“God knows in our heart that the surgeons did their best to save her life,” Dr. Jallah stated. “And let me apologize for not calling them but I am not running away, because I did no wrong; and I know they will understand it, as the scriptures say, by and by.”

She added: “In any death situation, a family grieves, wanting to find answers, and they take actions; and God knows that doctors wouldn’t take anyone’s life. And because of that some things are misinterpreted.”

Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah is the former head of obstetrics and gynecology at the John F. Kennedy Medical Center in Monrovia, and now Chief Medical Officer (CMO) and founder of Hope for Women Hospital.

Hope for Women Hospital was initially set up in 2010 to provide free medical help to women who suffer from cancer and later its services were extended to cover other medical conditions. It has two ambulances and a number of professional doctors that provide services to thousands of Liberians. It is gradually becoming one of Liberia’s important health care centers which people from all walks of life seek medical care.

In a related development, the Liberia Medical and Dental Council (LMDC) found the Women of Hope Hospital International liable for the ‘wrongful death’ of Pastor Desiree Fahnbulleh.

“While we consider her intention to assist in good faith, it is difficult to ignore the death of a patient who could have been referred or for whom specialist care could have been sought.” – Liberia Medical Dental and Dental Council

Her family has filed a US$6 million action for damages against the hospital with 6th Judicial Circuit Civil Law Court at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia.

Mrs. Fahnbulleh had a 3rd and 4th child by C-section. She was advised to do a bi-lateral tubal litigation to prevent another pregnancy which was done at the hospital, according to the complaint filed by the family with the Court.

She, however, got pregnant a year later, but refused to abort based on her religious beliefs, the complaint disclosed.

On November 24, 2016, Mrs. Fahnbulleh went to the hospital for a regular check-up but was advised by Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah, the head doctor at the facility that the C-section was scheduled for December 18, 2016, but the ultrasound expected time for delivery was January 2, 2017.

Dr. Jallah traveled on December 8, leaving Dr. Lorraine Cooper in charge. Prior to her scheduled delivery date, Mrs. Fahnbulleh made a regular visit to the hospital, but was advised upon examination by Dr. Cooper that she needed an emergency surgery the same day.

Her Husband, Larry Fahnbulleh, said prior to his arrival at the hospital that day, his wife was already sent to the surgery room. He said he didn’t consent neither his wife consented to the surgery as the space for signature on the consent form was empty.

According to him, the hospital asked him to sign before seeing his new born and wife, which he did and the baby was given to him, but wasn’t given the opportunity to see his wife. He was later informed via a phone call that his wife had expired, he said.

In Dr. Jallah response to the lawsuit, she said the deceased was tested positive 22 months after the tubal ligation procedure, dismissing the claim that the deceased got pregnant a year after her tubal ligation.

She denied persuading the deceased from giving birth abroad as stated by her husband in count 4 of the complaint. Hope for Women is the only antenatal care facility in the country.

Dr. Jallah denied making promises to the deceased and husband that she will solely do the surgery as claimed by him. The hospital also rejected that the husband was compelled to sign the surgery consent form.

She insisted that the hospital was not negligible in the performance of its professional duties to the patient and therefore cannot be held responsible for wrongful death.

The hospital noted in its response to the complaint that it’s being persecuted for services they rendered in good faith and with diligence to the deceased consistent and in keeping with their oaths as licensed health practitioners in Liberia.

But the Liberia Medical Dental and Dental Council (LMDC) noted that Dr. Jallah has many of experience as practicing as a general physician in obstetrics and Gynecology.

“It is our opinion that a case of failed bilateral tubal litigation, high-risk pregnancy, and absence of specialist care ultimately led to the death of Mrs. Fahnbulleh,” LMDC noted in an investigative report.

The disciplinary committee ordered that Dr. Jallah employs the service of an OB/GYN specialist as a consultant to handle special cases beyond and above her qualification. They warned that subsequent action will lead to the suspension of her license.

Dr. Cooper, according to the investigation, acted beyond and above her scope of practice. “She took responsibility of a patient that was far beyond her scope of practice as a general practitioner,” he report indicated.

“While we consider her intention to assist in good faith, it is difficult to ignore the death of a patient who could have been referred or for whom specialist care could have been sought,” the investigative committee said.

Dr. Cooper and the nurse on duty S. Neal were suspended for six months following the investigation. The autopsy report in the possession of FPA identified “shock” is the cause of death.

But the Dr. Jallah and the hospital condemned the autopsy report, terming it as incomplete, uncertain, questionable and inconclusive failure to state the dosage of chemical administered.

Source: Nation Times

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About Cholo Brooks 11583 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.