Via FrontPageAfrica, a long, discouraging August 19 report: Recovering from Trauma: After Losing Doctor, JFK Rising Back. Excerpt:
The deadliest outbreak of the killer disease Ebola in three West African countries, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia is still ongoing but the scars of the virus will remain for centuries to come and with the outbreak far from over, many people are already expressing deep sorrow over the pain caused by the virus.
In the town of Barkedu in Lofa County, one of the worst hit, at least sixty people have died from the virus in a single town and what that will cause the remaining survivals could possibly be a replica of the Rwandan genocide. At the St. Joseph’s Catholic Hospital, seven people died from the same facility and the story is the same for several families where children have become orphans with the death of both parents and in some instances, either only a father or a mother is the only survivor.
On Sunday morning, Konah Kupee who lost her husband sat under a tree with her two children sitting a little distance and watching their mother shiver from fever. The two children were told to go home with father dead and mother now in isolation center being treated as a suspected Ebola patient until testing is carried out.
Who caters to the kids at home with the stigma of losing a father and mother in isolation until status of mother is known is another tale, but like the two kids there are several other people with touching stories to tell when the Ebola outbreak is gone and life starts afresh. Liberia’s referral John F. Kennedy medical center is one facility hardly hit by the virus with the death of its Chief Medical officer, Dr. Samuel Brisbane and other medical workers.
Dr. Wvannie-Mae Scott-McDonald, Chief Administrator John F. Kennedy Medical Center is one person feeling the trauma of the death of a hospital official to the deadly Ebola virus.
A hero gone
“We have lost a hero, I can’t imagine seeing him go, this is a man that helped me to setup this hospital in 2006 when there was nothing here, the death of Dr. (Samuel) Brisbane brought us so much trauma that all the nurses left, we are just encouraging them now to come back, and it is like we are rebuilding”, she said.
Dr. McDonald described the late Dr. Brisbane as a veteran whom many other health workers respected and relied on for his experience and that his death caused trauma for the entire hospital and the health sector of Liberia which she says is difficult to overcome.
“All the nurses abandoned the hospital and we could not blame them because this man Dr. Brisbane was somebody, very good who could do a lot of work, losing him caused trauma for everybody”, she lamented. With tears in her eyes Dr. McDonald described the Ebola virus as an inhumane disease which she said is causing Liberians to lose the sense of humanity and caring for one another.
“I don’t know what is this. You cannot touch your employees any longer to show to them that you care for them to encourage them to work, this is really devastating”.
On the damage caused by the virus, Dr. McDonald disclosed that the patients from whom the virus caused harm to the hospital were not admitted as showing the signs and symptoms of the virus, but taken in for different illness and within two to three days, these patients starting to show signs of the virus but it was late after they were attended to in a different way.
Dr. McDonald says following the death of Dr. Brisbane, all the nurses left the hospital for fear of the Ebola virus, but she has been encouraging them to return and some have shown up for work, leading to the reopening of the Maternity ward where pregnant women are being attended to.
“It is like we are starting from scratch, so I am trying to build confidence in the nurses by going around every morning to caution them, do you have your PPS? Watch yourself and also watch the other near you. I am just doing this to make them overcome the trauma”, she indicated.
The nurses, she noted, are gradually showing up for work and she has cautioned them to treat all patients with care, taking to mind that they are suspected Ebola patients just to create a sense of extreme care in dealing with all patients. At the hospital, nurses were seen in their protective gears, but fewer in number as Dr. McDonald said all is being done to make the hospital get back to full capacity.