Liberian Senate Probes Shaki Kamara’s Death, Invites JFK Medical Center CMO

Little Shaki Kamara in pains during the 2014 West Point incident
Little Shaki Kamara in pains during the 2014 West Point incident

The Chief Medical Officer of the John F. Kennedy Medical Center (JFKMC), Dr. Billy Johnson, told a Senate Committee on Gender, Health, Social Welfare, Women and Children Protection probing circumstances surrounding the death of teenager Shaki Kamara in 2014, that the hospital did not abandon the victim.

Dr. Johnson, addressing the Senate Committee at the Capitol Building, said “the hospital did not release the full footage of the CCTV as it was a clinical matter.”

However, when he and four other executive staff of the JFKMC who appeared before the Committee were quizzed as to whether they still had the cameras on at the hospital, they said that “due to the renovation, a lot of these facilities are not in use or have been taken down.”

Shaki Kamara suffered from a bullet wound that eventually led to his death during the government’s effort to quarantine the Township of West Point during the Ebola crisis of 2014. He was reportedly abandoned by doctors at the JFK Medical Center before being transferred to the Redemption Hospital in New Kru Town.

But the Senate Committee told Plenary that during its interactions with the JFKMC senior staff, CCTV footage was shown to prove that the victim, Shaki Kamara, was never abandoned as reported.

“What was posted was to suit the damaging image they wanted to portray of the medical center,” Dr. Johnson was quoted as saying.

The committee, chaired by Sen. Peter Coleman, further stated in its report that: “It was noticed that the hospital facility was closed and not operational after the shock and trauma associated with the deaths of their professional colleagues. He (Dr. Johnson) did administer an IV line before referring Shaki to another facility.”

The committee said it was also informed that the victim did not die on the day he was taken from JFKMC.

Shaki Kamara was a non-viral casualty shot in the leg by a military personnel who was a member of a heavily armed security team sent to the densely populated slum community to enforce compliance with a quarantine order during the outbreak of Ebola.

On the recent report of the rape of a patient at the Center, an administration official reportedly denied that such an event occurred at the JFKMC. The dismissal of a staff, according to the senior executives, “was strictly administrative as the staff was seen where he should not have been at the time; he had crossed the line of duty.”

Deputy Administrator of JFKMC, Ms. Munah Tarpeh, told the committee that the management took the action to dismiss dietician, Emmet Rogers, as he had no business on the ward during the odd hours he was seen there.

On the allegation of exorbitant service fees charged by the hospital, the Administrator/CEO of JFKMC, Dr. Wvannie Scott-McDonald, told the committee that fees charged at the medical center were all approved by the Board of Directors, and that they have not acted outside of the Board’s approval since the fees were endorsed.

According to her, the fees are usually reviewed; and she promised to submit a copy of the fees charged at the medical center, emphasizing that patients are never turned away.

It may be recalled that on May 10, 2016, Rivercess County Senator Dallas Gueh wrote the Senate and raised several concerns relating to ethical transgressions, high service fees and financial mismanagement at the JFKMC.

(Visited 345 times, 1 visits today)
About Cholo Brooks 15592 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.