SRHA clears medical staff in Ebola debacle
Livern Barett, Gleaner Writer
AN INVESTIGATION by the Southern Regional Health Authority (SRHA) has found that nurses and doctors at the Mandeville Regional Hospital, in Manchester, did not mistreat the Nigerian man who showed up there last month with what they thought were symptoms of infection with the Ebola virus.
Dr Bob Banjo, a Nigerian who has been living in Jamaica for the last 28 years, told The Gleaner, last month, that he visited the hospital on October 18 with dizziness and was sweating profusely.
Banjo claimed that in response to questions from a nurse he admitted that he visited his homeland for several weeks between July and August, this year, and recounted how that set off alarms bells among medical personnel at the health facility. He complained that he was neglected for nearly nine hours and that some nurses flatly refused to treat him.
"The moment I told the nurse I travelled to Nigeria, she ran out and told the doctor [and] the whole hospital - even patients and the staff. They went haywire," he said then.
However, chairman of the SRHA, Michael Stewart told The Gleaner yesterday that to the contrary, he wanted to congratulate the medical staff at the hospital "for the proactive and professional manner in which they handled the matter."
"Dr Banjo was not sidelined or mistreated in any way. He was treated fairly under the circumstances and as far as we are concerned that is the end of the matter," said Stewart
"I believe the matter was ventilated thoroughly and there was no misdemeanor on the part of the medical staff," he insisted.
The SRHA chairman revealed that its probe got "very comprehensive" reports from senior medical personnel at the hospital, including senior medical officer Everton McIntosh; accident and emergency consultant Dr Janice Miller, nursing supervisor
Ruby Redway and registered nurse AnnMarie Allen-Sharpe.
He asserted that the reports indicated that Dr Banjo had provided medical personnel with misleading information and said at a time of heightened Ebola concerns across the nation that "caused some consternation" among the staff.
As an example, Stewart charged that Banjo told health workers that when he left Nigeria he was quarantined at the airports in Abu Dhabi and Frankfurt.
Stewart said when Banjo was asked about the details of the quarantine he reported that in both cases his temperature was taken before he was allowed to board his flights.
In addition, he claimed the reports indicated that Banjo told hospital staff that he was a medical doctor attached to the South East Regional Health Authority, which turned out to be false.
"In that case the nurses would have taken precautionary measures. Plus remember there were no PPEs (protective gears) and because of the Ebola concerns persons took evasive action," he sought to explain.
However, he said McIntosh quickly took charge of the situation and Banjo was treated and released.