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--Following Ebola Fear

jfkHealth authorities at the John F. Kennedy (JFK) Medical Center in Sinkor have confirmed the closure of the hospital’s emergency ward to the public following reports that the Ebola virus had spread.

Reports say nurses have been re-assigned on the regular ward. The hospital’s emergency ward was shutdown following the death of a suspected Ebola patient (name withheld), who had been brought from the borough of New Kru Town last Thursday at the JFK.

The deceased, according to reports, showed all of the Ebola-related symptoms, including red eyes, vomiting, and/or high fever.

News of the patient’s death triggered fear amongst nurses and other hospital staff, prompting them to put down their working tools in protest, thus leaving patients unattended to.

According to the report, nurses initially fled the scene due to insufficient supply of protective gear which had left them vulnerable to contracting the virus.

 In a statement, however, the JFK Administration, through its communications department, said that contrary to the report, the maternity nurses were not on protest, “but rather taking precautionary measures after an alleged Ebola case was reported in the emergency section of the hospital.”

Normal working activities are currently in place, with surgeries and deliveries going on, the Management said.

The hospital explained that a patient came on Thursday from New Kru Town through the emergency section, and according to a medical practitioner assigned at that ward, the patient showed signs of the Ebola virus, and later died.

“With fear of passing on the virus, four nurses who are assigned in the emergency section immediately contacted the administration, which subsequently passed on the information to the Ebola response team at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MOH/SW). Said response team responded in time to the situation,” the statement said.

Up to Friday and throughout the weekend, JFK said, the MOH/SW was in the process of taking specimens of the expired patient for laboratory analysis to confirm whether or not the patient died of the virus.

Management, however, emphasized that the Maternity Unit is up and running, and there was no need to panic as the situation was under control.

Meanwhile, as the emergency room remains closed, the JFK Administration has noted the concerns of the nurses assigned there, and says it is doing all it can to ensure that the dead patient is removed for burial.

In a related development, members of the National Health Workers Association of Liberia (NAHWAL) over the weekend held a Memorial Service in loving memory of their colleagues who lost their lives in recent months to Ebola, while serving humanity.

Two nurses died in April this year from the Foyah-Boma Hospital in Lofa County, while others died at various locations in and around Monrovia.