Liberia’s “Handicapped” Health System: My Experience At Premier State-Owned Hospital—Critically Branded “Just For Killing” (JFK)

By Samuel G. Dweh |Freelance Development Journalist                                           Contacts —+231  (0)886618906/776583266/samuelosophy@yahoo.com/samuelosophy1@gmail.com

Author taking his Pressure-Attacked mother to JFK Medical Center (Sept. 3, 2020)

This article ends with recommendations—solution methods

LIKE “MONARCHIAL SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT”

The George Manneh Weah-led Government has “inherited” most of these “attitudinal issues”  (chronicled in this article) from the Government of his immediate predecessor—Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. These issues are persisting at a time there is huge financial and technical support from “Liberia’s International Development Partners”, especially the United States of America, the People’s Republic of China, Great Britain, and Sweden.

ORIGIN OF “JUST FOR KILLING” (JFK)

The name of Liberian Government’s premier (#1) hospital is John F. Kennedy (JFK) Memorial Medical Center. It had bore this name since 1971, when it was opened for operation. Nobody thought about changing this name—on the premise of “medical mishap” in any form.

However, this happened during post-civil war time (political normalcy) in Liberia.

Parts of this Write-up’s in quotation marks are direct words coined by somebody frustrated and disappointed by “many deaths” at this Government of Liberia’s Premier (#1) Hospital during the Presidency of Mrs. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (1996-2017) The building was opened to the public in 1971.

During much part of Madam Sirleaf’s Leadership of Liberia, the “dead bodies storage facility” (morgue) of the John F. Kennedy Memorial Medical Center used to be “full” with corpses of persons who had died in the Center or reported “Dead On Arrival” (perished while en route to the Hospital) by the Hospital’s Authority.

The “death in the Hospital” was mostly caused by treatment by “quacks” (medically inexperienced persons), especially those assigned to drilling medical needles (syringes) into patient’s skin or carrying “surgical operations room”.

The “Death On Arrival” (DOA) was blamed on the escort-person’s “delay” in “rushing” the sick person to the Hospital (JFK Medical Center) But many of the Death on Arrival cases were blamed on action of the Hospital’s Main Entry Gate Security officers who had delayed the conveying vehicle with a string of “unnecessary questions” to the sick person’s accompany relatives or friends; blamed on the Hospital Staff’s “unnecessary delay” to bring the Hospital’s Wheel Chair to “rush” the sick person to the Emergency Room.

This “medical tragedy” name—“Just For Killing” (JFK)—became more viral (fast spreading) shortly after the death The “mysterious death” (on September 27, 2015)  of Nakita Forh, daughter of Hon. Edward Forh (Representative of District #16, Montserrado County) at the John F. Kennedy Memorial Center. She was suffering from Asthma, according to information from the family, confirmed by some sources in JFK Medical Center.

I personally witnessed this “cruelty” by the Hospital’s Staff, which later resulted to the death of my sick fiancé in 2013.

The Hospital’s security team prevented the car conveying her because two persons were sitting with the driver. Both were the sick woman’s young cousins—boy and girls. The time was 11pm, they refused to open the gate (which is now used as the Exit Point today) until one of the critically-sick lady’s relatives alight. We explained why two persons were at the front seat (the lady was lying, occupying much of the back seat, her head resting on my thighs in the back seat) and that where they said the person should get out of the car was dark (no light from any source) was then located)

About one hour later, the Medical Center’s Chief Medical Officer—Wannie Mae Scott—arrived, and begged the security team to raise the iron bar for our car to pass.

At the Emergency Unit (Section), we had to wait more than two minutes for somebody in the building to bring a wheelchair to take the sick lady into the Emergency Wall.

A lady came with a wheelchair, but there was another problem: The lady refused to hold the wheelchair while the three men set the sick woman into the vehicle.  The driver of the car couldn’t lend a hand. The sick lady weighed more than 150 pounds, and two of the male escorts couldn’t raise her, while the female escort steadies the continuously moving wheelchair. On the men’s first attempt to set her into the wheelchair, she slid off and felt with her buttocks. At this juncture, the sick woman began grunting and convulsing profusely.

About four minutes later, the two male escorts got Mai (English name—Chris) into the wheelchair. At this juncture, she was panting, grunting, and convulsing profusely.

“Mai is still alive, she won’t die at JFK Hospital,” the sick lady’s cousin said.

“Amen!” I responded to her relative’s hopeful comment.

The Medical Center’s wheelchair operator rode Mai into the Emergency Wall.

About two hours later, a female medical doctor came out, called for the “closer relative” of the sick woman among us, and instructed the others to move some meters away from the parking space of the Emergency Section. We agreed for Chris’s female cousin, named Muna, to go with the doctor.

Less than five minutes later, a loud cry from the Emergency Wall filtered out of the building.

Muna raced outside, wailing. “Mai died-o!…The doctors say she died before we reached here-o! Mai who was breathing and talking small, small before they took her into the hospital-o!” she explained with crying.

The rest of the escorts burst into wail.

When Muna calmed a little, while we were returning to the family’s home in Matadi Estate, Sinkor, Monrovia, she said to the rest of the escorts: “One of two doctors told me over Mai’s lifeless body in the Emergency Room that she died before we reached her at the Hospital. One of the doctors explained the medical term to me: Death On Arrival.”

The next day, I followed representatives of Chris’s Family to discuss removal of Mai’s corpse from the JFK Memorial Medical Center’s mortuary, where it had been deposited shortly after she gave out the ghost.

Outside the corpse-storage section, a source at the JFK Medical Center told the deceased’s relative that Chris died of Pressure or Cardiovascular Attack.

About two weeks later, I wrote a news story about Mai’s death (published in the New Voice newspaper, 2013), detailing our experiences at the Hospital’s security check point and at the Emergency Section’s premises. I added other people’s tragic conditions at this Government’s #1 Health Center, as living relatives had narrated through the Media.

The Medical Center’s Communication Director, Mr. Daylue Goah (a former graphicist of the Daily Observer, during the time I was a proofreader there in 2011), reacted to the story in a newspaper—reiterating the Hospital Authority’s stance that Mai died “On Arrival” On my relay of other people’s experiences, Mr. Goah said all the stories—including continued reports on medical attendants’ negligence on patients—about JFK Medical Center were “false”

But Mr. Goah later “exposed” the JFK Medcal Center on most of the things he had defended the Hospital on—after his official “Public Relations” job with the medical Institution came to an unceremonious end. He rolled out the “uglies” when he was in the United States of America.

On his “revelation”, I wrote an article titled “Beneficiary Against Benefactor: My Diary of “Advocate” Daylue Goah”. The article (published in the FrontPage Africa newspaper of Liberia) dwelled much on “hypocrisy” of Mr. Goah—a “Journalist” who had worked with various print and electronic institutions before moving to Daily Observer on “greener pasture”

Similar role is being played by a man—self-introduced as “James Crayton, Public Relations Officer of the John F. Kennedy Medical Center”—who called me in the evening of Friday, September 11, 2020 and complained on my first article on “Bed Shortage and plastic chairs being used as beds” at the John F. Kennedy Memorial Medical Center (published in September 11, 2020 edition of the Heritage newspaper) “Most of what you put in the newspaper are demeaning…You should have first contacted the Hospital’s Communications Department to give you the right information,” he added. The phone number the person connected through is this: 0777703530

I replied that what I wrote were based on my personally knowledge from my six-day visitations (3-9, September, 2020) at the Hospital to speak to a female relative and to pay the patient’s medical bills on treatment in the JFK Medical Center.

On 16th of December, 2015, I lost another friend, Ms. Cynthia Mamie Smith, at the John F. Kennedy Memorial Medical Center. At the premises of her Church (Assemblies of God), on 24th Street, Sinkor, Monrovia, on September 8, Ms. Smith complained about “sharp pain” in her right hand when it was raised, and later “sudden tireness”. Friends rushed with her in a car to the John F. Kennedy Memorial Medical Center four Streets away, and the Hospital’s authority kept her in the Emergency Room. Throughout the six days (8-14) Ms. Smith was at the Government’s #1 Medical Center, she lamented to her visiting relatives and friends on one of the following: Assigned Nurses’ lack of attention during midnight (when all visitors are sent out of the Medical Center), which caused her fall from her hospital bed two different days; extreme hunger (due to late arrival of the Hospital’s lunch, and the Hospital’s prohibition of food from patient’s relative/friend)

When I visited Ms. Smith on December 14, I met her right hand paralyzed. The Hospital’s records showed Stroke as cause of the paralysis. The medical reports said nothing about her drops from the bed partially on assigned Nurse’s “intentional negligence” of her patient.

On the 16th, the Hospital’s Authority called Ms. Smith’s family to relay doctors’ “death message”. Her mortal remains had been deposited at the Hospital’s mortuary—held until her family paid for all drugs and medical treatments.

Authority of each Hospital most times splashes “Death On Arrival” claim on persons in their custody to evade legal action by the deceased’s relatives on “death of negligence,” a doctors’ assistant at the Redemption Hospital, another Liberian Government’s health center, disclosed to me during her narration about her sick husband’s ordeals in the hands of doctors of John F. Kennedy Memorial Medical Center, where he had on treatment, concomitantly, from August to September, 2020, before he was pronounced “Death On Arrival” at JFK Hospital in middle part of September. Prior to his death, he had been a renowned Media Trainer and a popular figure in the Liberian Journalists’ community.

“For example, a Nurse will give injection off the vein of a Pressure person brought unconscious, causing a sharp rise in the Depression level, and later resulting to death, but the hospital will state on the medical report that the person died on the way to the hospital,” the woman said two weeks to her husband’s death.

WHY LIBERIA’S HEALTH SECTOR IS DESCRIBED AS “HANDICAPPED”

Global search engine, Google, defines “Handicap” (Noun) as “a circumstance that makes progress or success difficult”

Liberia’s health sector—Government or private—has never improved much in terms of “medical performance” by persons  brandishing Class-A “medical degrees” (earned from Western Nations’ medical colleges) in each of the Nation’s Hospitals (or Medical Centers) The number of doctors or nurses who perform meritoriously is less than 30% of “medical practitioners” who “flood” in each of the public/private hospitals.

This is the main reason majority of top Government officials seek treatment in other African Countries, especially Ghana or Nigeria. (Example: Representative Munah Pelham-Youngblood of Electoral District #9, Montserrado County, rushed to Ghana when she fell critically ill in 2019, but was not lucky to defeat death in 2020)

The “circumstance” that makes medical “progress” of Liberia’s health sector “difficult” is “political”—employing a person on the basis of “political affiliation”, instead of on the premises of the medical-job seeker’s “deeper knowledge” in occultism the area. Other “circumstances” are “ethnic consideration” (kinsperson only) and   “occultic membership” (man-man sexual affairs, etc.)

 

THE MAIN ISSUES

On Thursday, September 3, 2020 (Liberian Time), I rushed with my Pressure-attacked biological mother, Elizabeth Broh,  to the John F. Kennedy Memorial Medical Center for medical treatment. Two of her male “yard children” assisted me with carrying her from her home (in the Township of West Point) to get a vehicle (first photo); one of her female “yard children” helped with escorting us (in a Tricycle—“Keke”) to the JFK Medical Center.

The time was 6pm.

At the Hospital, a wheelchair was provided by the Hospital, and she was transported into a ground-floor room marked “ER” (Emergency Room) with only one bed being occupied by a female patient breathing through plastic tube connected to her mouth and a metal cylinder stationed at the head of the bed she was lying on.

The nurse on duty that evening set my other in a white plastic chair—against my wish that she would immediately placed onto a bed due to her “critical condition”

About thirty minutes later, the assigned nurse brought a thermometer and tied its bands around my mother’s left hand. She stayed in the chair for the next two hours.

“Doctor, thank you for attending to my mother,” I began engagement with the nurse. After her courteous response to my pleasantry, I added, “When will my mother be placed on a bed?”

She replied: “No vacant bed now. All the beds in the Hospital are occupied with patients. Your mother has to wait for someone to vacate a bed, when the person has been transferred or discharged, to take over.”

“So, will my mother stay throughout the entire night period, assuming no vacant bed?” I inquired.

“Your mother has spent just few hours in a chair, and you’re complaining. Some patients had spent three days in chairs, due to bed shortage as it is now,” the nurse replied.

About one hour later, my mother was lucky for a bed in the room, vacated by the female patient breathing through the oxygen tube. She had been transferred to another room.

But there was another heart-pricking experience for me: The man in the Hospital’s Fiscal Unit refused to accept nine hundred Liberian Dollars (LD$900)—the only money I had on me at that time—as part of LD$1,200 as “Patient’s Registration Fee”. I told the man, “I will pay the balance tomorrow, my patient is still in the custody of the hospital.” The man replied, “I can’t take part of the money, even ninety-nine percent of it, this is the law from the hospital’s authority.”

The first attending nurse refused to “touch” my mother, the second time, until I had shown the “Registration ID card”.

I made a phone call to home for LD$4,000.

All the money was swallowed by Patient’s Registration Card processing and first consignment of drugs to be used on my mother.

At 1pm, the hospital’s authority, through one of the nurses, gave me a marching order out of the building. “We can’t allow patient’s relative in here at this time,” she relayed the message.

On day two (Friday, September 4), I received a phone call from a female doctor, ordering me to “come quick.” I abandoned the hustle for “medical bill” for my mother and jumped into a Taxi heading toward Paynesville, via Sinkor, where JFK Medical Center is.

A female doctors delivered message: “We called you to look after your patient lying on the bed. All the nurses are busy with other patients, so their attention will not be focused much on her. We don’t want her fall from the bed and her family accusing us of intentionally causing that.”

“I should be out there, finding money to pay for treatment, but you pulled me over here for a duty which is for the medical team in this wall,” I replied.

Spell of “ecstasy” caught my mother after I narrated the Hospital’s “inconsistency” (discrepancy) as announced by the Hospital’s Financial Counselor. “I was ready now to remain here forever in the Hospital’s grip, if my family can’t find this huge money—seventy-six thousand, eight hundred and ninety-five Liberian dollar,” she said in a plaintive tone.

“Jehovah, who you serve, would never allow anything like that to happen to you,” I reacted to her comment of pessimism.

 

The next day, I was at the Hospital to pay fifty United States dollars on top of the US$150 I had deposited as part-payment. But something I had never dreamed about happened: verbal and physical attacks by a Nurse in the Emergency Wall my mother was being hosted and the Wall’s Supervisor named Edwin Sumowar.

I was copying into my mobile phone a contact number of the Hospital’s Financial Counselor, to tell him that I had brought part of the balance of money, so that he will accompany me to the Admission Department for payment. The

“Why are you taking photo?” the Nurse said to me. She was of the lightest complexion among the Ladies in the Emergency Room.

I replied: “My sister, assumption causes conflict, especially in a hospital environment where many patients’ relatives are traumatized by the health conditions of their loved one, or on the difficulty of getting money for treatment. The appropriate way to inquire, in this case, is ‘What are you doing’, since you didn’t see my taking photo. That’s what school teaches us.”

Wall’s Supervisor intervened: “That’s an insult to the woman who’s taking care of your mother in this room. Apologize!”

“You’re commanding me to apologize on educating a medical practitioner on the appropriate comment to use?” I replied.

“If I had used some kind of drugs on his mother, and he met her still on the bed, he would have been saying something different from insulting me,” the Nurse attacked.

“What you’re implying is lethal drugs. If you inject any killer drugs into my mother, you won’t be here!” I fired back at the Nurse.

“Apologize to the Nurse now, or go outside! I’m the head of this place!” the man resumed.

“I’m here to free my mother from here, I can’t go outside, without her!” I defied. My stress level had risen and my heart was pounding faster.

“If you can’t apologize to the Nurse, I will get you out of here!” Dr. Edwin Sumowar repeated and removed his white medical gown. He was rushing toward me, but blocked by some of his colleagues present. “Call the security to drag him out of here!”

Two men—one in plain cloth and the other in uniform of the Liberia National Police (LNP)—appeared, and politely told me to follow them out of the Emergency Room

The LNP officer inquired from me the cause of the confrontations; I explained.

“Go through the visitors’ entry point, to pay the medical bill for your mother,” the Police officer advised me in a polite tone.

I obeyed, paid the money.

Outside, I told another male doctor about Dr. Edwin Sumowar’s attitude in the Emergency Room. “He has hot temper. Such level of temperament and manner of talking are not good for a Medical Emerge Room, where a patient can be maltreated or his or her life be terminated with lethal injection on the doctor’s retaliation to action by the patient’s relative. I will do a brief note about his attitude exhibited today and drop it into the Hospital’s Suggestion Box” at the Emergency Room’s entrance,” I explained to the doctor.

“Most of the people working with him and many patients in his Wall had complained several times about similar thing: his hot temper and harsh talking. But there’s nothing we, his colleagues, can do. Only the Hospital’s authority can calm him down—perhaps on your written note in the Hospital’s Suggestion Box, which I would appreciate,” the doctor explained.

I reported Dr. Edwin Sumowar’s behavior to another doctor.

“I’m aware of what you are saying. The Hospital’s authority is has knowledge about his behavior. However, he continues his medically unethical displays, because of his political connection,” the second doctor said to me.

Dr. Edwin Sumowar had not done with me yet. Sitting in the front seat of the Hospital’s Ambulance, he looked toward me in a chat with a male relative of a patient in the building. “I will deal with you,” he pointed his finger to the direction of the visitor and me.

“Do you know him?” I said to the guy standing with me.

“I can’t remember him speaking with me before now,” the guy responded.

Feeling his referring to me, who had confronted him, less than an hour ago, I understood his “deal with” as “medical strike” (infusion of lethal drug) anytime I’m patient in the Medical Wall he controls.

“If I’m the person you’re referring to, my God in Heaven will thwart your evil plan against me!” I replied to Dr. Edwin Sumowar’s threat.

 

The guy I was standing with before Dr. Edwin Sumowar made the threat was narrating a story related to “medical inexperience” by a Nurse assigned to his relative in one of the Emergency Rooms on the day we were discussing.

“That’s one of the causes of high death rates at this Government’s Hospitals,” the guy, identified as Ben Johsnon, resumed the discussion after the Ambulance left with Dr. Edwin Sumowar.

He said his sick brother had told him that the first Nurse sent to treat him couldn’t find any of his veins for the syringe, after eight insertions of the liquid-filled medical pins into his flesh.

“Her colleague, another lady, pushed her aside, found the veins in seconds, and gave the injection,” he said, quoting his sick brother, who he later introduced as Jardioh Johnson.

Some of the Media Reports, based on leaked information from inside-sources, are on “plenty deaths” in the Hospital, which are attributed to “medical performances” by “medically inexperienced” persons like the Hospital’s Nurse who couldn’t find one a vein under the flesh of Jardioh Benson, but continued pushing more holes into his flesh with the syringe.

This could be attributed to the “plenty corpses” in the Hospital’s morgue as referenced in the banner headline of the FrontPage newspaper of Liberia—“Liberia: John F. Kennedy Medical Center to Conduct Mass Burial of Abandoned Bodies on Friday” (August 7, 2019)

According to the story, the Management of the Hospital had sent out public notice to members of the public (on August 8, 2019) on mass burial of (abandoned bodies) to commence Friday, August 9, 2019.

 

THE HOSPITAL’S CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER WAIVED FIVE THOUSAND LIBERIAN DOLLARS OFF THE TOTAL OF MEDICAL BILL

I told the Hospital’s Financial Counselor (Mr. Lee Garpue) about my current financial strength—LD$12,000 below the fifty-one thousand, five hundred and seventy Liberian dollars (LD$51,570) stated on the Slip issued by the Admission Department.

“Go to the Social Services Department and explain to the officers what you’ve told me,” the Financial Counselor advised me.

I rushed toward the Services Department, and repeated to the only Lady in the office what I had told the Financial Counselor.

“I will relay your message to the head of the Hospital’s Financial Department, but don’t expect the Social Services Department to make the deduction if the person doesn’t respond to your expectation. It’s not the Social Services Department’s responsibility to pay for patients who can’t afford the medical bill,” the Lady explained, asked me to wait in the Hospital’s Hall while she was away.

“Thank you,” I responded in a prayerful tone.

But the reply that came wasn’t what I expected.

“I appealed on your behalf to the Hospital’s Chief Financial Officer, but she’s not willing to waive such a huge sum: Twelve thousand dollars,” the Social Services Department’s Lady delivered the message.

“That’s the amount she’s willing to waive?” I asked, feeling my stress level rising.

“Five thousand,” my female medical intercessor called the amount.

“That means my mother won’t be released today, because I don’t have any money on me now, beside the one hundred and fifty United States dollars I gave today,”  I responded to the Chief Financial Officer’s message relayed through my intercessor.

“There’s nothing I can do about this,” the Lady said.

“Thanks for your help,” I said, rose forcefully off the plastic chair I was sitting in, and marched out of the office, and headed to my mother.

“You paid all the money now, for me to go home. I’m lonely here,” my mother cried when I appeared at the entrance of the compartment of the Emergency Wall she was sharing with two other patients—a young lady and a young man—each with oxygen tube to parts of the body.

“We need seven thousand Liberian dollars as balance, for you to be released today,” I reported.

“I will sleep here again?” she cried.

“I have money at my house, I will rush for it, and come back before five o’ clock,” I said.

“Okay, go, fast, now!” my mother said impatiently.

I galloped out of the Emergency Room.

Outside the building, I explained to one JFK Hospital’s casual worker about the Hospital’s admission of “discrepancy” in the first issued medical bill.

“What happened to you had happened many times to relatives of critical-condition patients in the past. Few months ago, three persons involved in inflating costs of drugs and treatment on the payment slip were arrested and dismissed. It seems there’s a syndicate in here doing such thing—to take for themselves the extra money they criminally got from the patient’s relatives,” the casual worker explained.

 

MY MOTHER SURVIVED, RETURNED HOME

At 2pm, I led my mother out of the Emergency Wall of the John F. Kennedy Memorial Medical Center—after paying the amount the Hospital and I agreed on.

 

Free At Last! Author & discharged Mother in front of JFK Med. Center’s entry gate, going to mother’s house (Thursday, Sept. 9, 2020)

 

At her house, in the Township of West Point, she narrated some of the things she saw and heard.

“When you left the hospital, the doctor you quarreled with came to me, and said he allowed you back into the room because of me. Around three am, when all the other patients were sleeping, one male doctor brought water for me and said I should drink it for strength. At this time, I remember the quarrel between you and that male doctor, so I refused to drink the water. Why bringing me water when all the other patients are sleeping, especially after heated argument between my son and a doctor few hours earlier. The other patient, woman, with me fell off her bed at midnight, but the nurses on duty came to her rescue after ten to fifteen minutes. One doctor was appealing to visitors to come for the bodies of their relatives in the hospital’s morgue, that the morgue was over-full with bodies. The girl we met breathing through the oxygen machine in the room I was kept on the first day is dead. I heard a doctor telling her relatives about the death news,” my mother narrated some of the things she saw and heard.

 

OTHER SICK PERSONS’ EXPERIENCES

Each of the days I  visited my mother at the John F. Kennedy Memorial Medical Center, I heard “no vacant beds” from the Hospital’s staffs to persons who had brought their sick relatives or friends, or sick persons’ escorts  confronting the Hospital’s security or doctors on the issue (bed scarcity)

“Our sister is in a life-threatening situation, but the JFK Hospital’s Security officers are preventing our car from passing the gate, saying they are obeying order from above,” a lady, later identified as Rose Teah, said to an invisible person during phone discussion at ten o’ clock on September 4. She was leaning against a blue Van with license plate number A56327 parked one yard from the Security gate. A woman lied on the floor of the car, leaned against one of those who brought her, and provided with fresh air with a cloth in the hand of another person.

After a long fruitless wait to be ushered into the Emergency Unit’s premises, escorts of the sick person drove away in the car that brought into the JFK Medical Center.

At 12:00pm, another vehicle, white Toyota Land Cruiser, ‘rushed’ into the parking space of the Emergency Unit and stopped in front of the entrance. It was marked with the following information: “Republic of Liberia    Ministry of Health, R.L.     GSA-MOH-02-384”

“The Hospital people are saying, no vacant bed,” one of those near the Jeep relayed the information to those in the car.

A sorrowful wail (loud cry) burst out of the car with the opening of the back door by one of the escorts. “Ay! Save my life-o! Take me into the hospital! Call the doctor for me!” the woman cried. She continued repeating some of the words.

The person crying was a huge body-size woman, in a multi-colors dress, sitting on the floor of the car, legs far apart, leaned backward against one of those who brought her.

A female escort came out of the Jeep. She was wearing an orange T-Shirt (under a khaki vest) marked “Emergency Medical Service (EMS)” She raced toward the entrance, but met a wall of JFK Hospital’s Nurses, Doctors, and Hospital Assistants at the entrance.

“No vacant bed in here now,” a member of the human-barricade said to the woman representing the patient in a life-threatening condition.

The woman placed her mobile phone to hear ear and spoke to somebody, relaying the information she had received. Minutes later, she said to a male Doctor in the human wall in front of her, “Please speak with the Chief Medical Officer at where we’ve come from.”

The JFK Hospital’s Doctor grabbed the phone. “There’s no vacant seat at the JFK Medical Center now! All beds in the Hospital are occupied with patients,” he repeated the Hospital’s official information to the person on the other side of the telephone line.

Only Government’s vehicles—Ambulances or those marked “Ministry of Health”—were allowed to pass through the Security gate (metal stick crossed through the entry point) But no patient in any of them was brought out.

There were also issues over the Hospital’s food for the patients on September 5 (Friday) The food arrived at 12pm. Each patient’s was in brown earthenware container. The food was a little rice, a little of what looked like beans or Split Pea (the porridge), and a piece of dry fish in each person’s food bowl.

The “Fish” in one patient’s bowl was as thin and flat as a memory chip in an electronic device.

“This is a beggar’s food. The hospital’s leader continues stopping better food from my family’s house to my sick relative in here,” a visitor complained to her relative over the Hospital’s lunch.

The John F. Kennedy Memorial Medical Center’s main reason for preventing “outside food” is to safeguard the life of each of its patient against “poisoning” According to an inside sources in the Hospital, who spoke to this writer on condition of anonymity, food poisoning had happened in the JFK Medical Center in the past by some of the “visitors” who introduced themselves as “relatives” or “friends” to the victims of food poisoning.

On Sunday, September 6, flies ‘intruded’ into the ground-floor Emergency Wall, adjacent the patients’ information registration point at the entrance of the Emergency Unit. Four patients—two women and two men—were in this Wall. None had physical strength to drive off the flies hovering around them or perching on each person’s lips and other parts of the body. Three of the patients (two men and one woman) had Oxygen tube connected to their mouths. The fourth patient (an elderly woman) was ‘still’ on her bed.

“Please buy water for me to drink, one of the Nurses said to me there’s no water in the hospital,” the elderly woman said to a relative here on visit.

Three female Medics were with the four patients. Two were in blue-white checker medical garment; one in maroon medical suit; the third was in predominantly white medical garment.

From my investigation at the Medical Center, majority of the cases in the “Emergency Unit” were of Pressure or Hypertension. This could be linked to the high “national frustration level” caused by mass unemployment and heightened national poverty level caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic’s impacts.

A source in the Hospital told me that the bed scarcity at the JFK Hospital started at the COVID-19 pandemic’s period (March, 2020)

“Most people are getting sick during the COVID-19 period than prior to the advent of the virus in Liberia. And most of these sick people are coming to JKF Hospital, because It is a Government’s Hospital, and each person expects treatment here to be cheap compared to other  popular Health Centers,” the source told me in the premises of the Hospital.

But some persons with relatives and friends at this Government’s Health center were arguing among themselves or against nurses and doctors on the Hospital’s drugs or treatment as being “cheap”.

 

RECOMMENDATIONS

The Government of Liberia should absorb into the John F. Kennedy Memorial Medical Center only persons with deeper knowledge of medical science. This will prevent “mass deaths” on lack of medical knowledge of doctors or nurses who pump medical fluid into patients or perform surgical operations.

The authority of the John F. Kennedy Memorial Medical Center should conduct In-Hospital tutorial on “Medical Psychology”, which tells a medical practitioners the right way to deal with “traumatized” relative to a patient in “critical condition” in the Hospital

The Presidency should investigate reports of “discrepancy” (inflation of costs for drugs, laboratory tests, or treatment) coming from relatives or friends of patients, and reduce the current cost of drugs or treatment—each giving this Government’s Health Center a “private Hospital” status.

Foreign Governments or Medical Donors should carry out regular check on issuance of drugs and other medical things they donated to the State-run Health Center. This will prevent—or reduce—theft of these things by the Hospital’s employees, which contributes to some of the deaths in the Hospital.

 

CONCLUSION

When the Author of this “Exposure Article” dies “mysteriously” at the John F. Kennedy Memorial Medical Center, you (who read this article or was informed about it by somebody who read it) shouldn’t look for the “culprit” beyond Mr. (Medical Dr.) Edwin Sumowar—the Emergency Wall’s Supervisor who had “threatened” Samuel G. Dweh on Friday, September 10, 2020. Investigation into Mr. Dweh’s “mysterious death”—at Hospital could be linked to a “lethal drugs” the man, or one of the attending Nurses under his “command”, had pumped into Samuel G. Dweh—on his “effrontery” or his “mention of Dr. Edwin Sumowar” in his “article” about the “grossly unethical practices” at the Hospital.

We meet again through another written commentary about the “Liberian problem”—and proffered solution to the problem.

“She has other relatives, I guess,” the lady argued.

“True, but I’m the only blood-relative living closer,” I explained.

“There’s nothing else I can do about this,” she maintained.

So, I stayed with my mother, no chair (the only one had been taken away for another patient), over three hours, adjusting her on the bed, wiping her urine on the bed, and feeding her with a miser’s meal (lunch) provided by the Hospital: rice (below quantity of 8 dining spoonful), mashed beans (sparingly sprinkled over the rice), and a piece of herring (the size of an electronic memory chip) I bought water because there was no hospital’s water for patients.

When my mother regained some mental and physical strengths, she told me about her little money kept in her purse, hiding somewhere in the room she lives with my adoptive father. “Race to the house and get the money,” she said.

On this ‘command’, I appealed for “temporary release” from one of the nurses, who agreed.

On day three, my mother complained to me, during the Hospital’s Visitation Time at 1pm, about hunger. “Please buy bread and tea for me, the hospital hasn’t brought food for us, beside the little creamy wheat they gave me  around nine in the morning,” she explained.

I raced out of the hospital’s  yard, bought what my mother had called for, but the hospital’s security, at the Emergency Unit, intercepted the bread. “No food is allowed, unless a doctor officially allows by writing to the security booth here,” one of the officers explained to me.

No doctor or nurse could give me the official permission, so my mother was compelled to quench the “hunger” with the “water”. The food didn’t come when the visitation time expired at “1:00pm”, and I was ordered by a nurse to leave the “ER”. Remembering my mother’s punctuality of her “feeding time” at her home, I grieved over her being kept “hungry” at medical center whose authority prohibits supply of cooked food by patients’ relative or friend.

On day 5 (Monday, September 7) my female cousin, Patricia Tarweh, took over visitation. I was “hustling” for “medical bills”

The Hospital’s “Admission Department” “shocked” me with an “inflated” medical bill on day Tuesday, September 7. The figure on the slip read: 76, 895 Liberian Dollars (US$410.00)

During this period the exchange rate between the Liberian Dollar and the US Dollar was LD$198 to US$1.00.

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About Cholo Brooks 14259 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.

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