Via Awareness Times: Security Threat in Freetown ...as Ebola Suspect Escapes PCMH. Excerpt:
Events in the night of Friday 18th July 2014 saw the escape from Isolated Observation, of a pregnant woman by the name Mariatu (surname and address withheld) from the Princess Christian Maternity Hospital (PCMH) along Fourah Bay Road.
According to medical staff who asked not to be named, Mariatu, from her presenting symptoms, was presumed to be a suspected Ebola case. Blood samples were taken from her and sent to Kenema for testing. It was whilst the medical team were awaiting confirmation that she was advised to be kept under observation in isolation from other pregnant patients.
According to numerous residents of Fourah Bay Road, the fracas first happened on Thursday 17th July, when Mariatu's relatives refused the possibility of her being an Ebola patient and vehemently rejected for her to be kept in isolation.
Mariatu's relatives and close friends laid siege at the PCMH isolation unit, demanding her release. The police however were called in and managed to quell that riot and send her relatives away that Thursday.
On Friday evening, the relatives came back but with a huge group of well-muscled young men said to have been recruited from places near her residence in Eastern Freetown's Kissy suburbs.
The youths and a loud bunch of women, manhandled the security personnel at the gates, marched to the Isolation room and forcibly helped Mariatu to escape from the hospital. The nurses on duty were threatened and over-powered by the group from Kissy in the east end of Freetown.
One of the nurses on duty was slapped and further threatened for attempting to stop the escape. Mariatu was then put on a motorbike which sped off with her under the pouring rain. This newspaper correspondents were right at the scene as Mariatu was being driven off on an okada under a heavy rainfall.
"If this lady is found to be positive when the test results are out, it is obvious that the okada rider who drove off with her under the pouring rain, other close relatives and friends who touched her, stand the risk of being infected," a resident of Fourah Bay Road, Madam Rahman pondered.
"With all the reports about Ebola, if these people still do not believe this is a security threat to all of us, they will not come back to the hospital even if they get infected. They are the ones who will hide and continue spreading the disease until the situation gets worse. It is only when they start dying that they will believe. May God help us in this country and give our authorities the wisdom to handle this deadly plague," John Koroma, a university student visiting his sister said.
Neither the security nor the nurses at the PCMH obliged to grant an interview on record except to confirm the dismal incident that a suspected Ebola patient had left the premises without waiting for her test results to come in.
The story concludes that Mariatu tested negative for Ebola, but the incident shows a serious security problem for hospitals and an equally serious lack of understanding of Ebola by the public.