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Federal hospital abandons dying accident victim over Ebola fears

A badly injured accident victim lay unattended for days and died Tuesday at a federal hospital in Bayelsa after doctors and nurses abandoned her over fears of contracting the Ebola virus.

The death recorded on Tuesday at the Federal Medical Centre, FMC, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State was attributed to a car accident and not the Ebola Virus Disease as feared by health workers at the hospital.

Hospital staff have become cautious following the outbreak of the disease in neighbouring Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
The accident victim, who was rushed to the hospital died on Tuesday as staff of the FMC declined to attend to her for fear of a possible Ebola infection.

PREMIUM TIMES gathered that the victim was brought into the hospital’s casualty and emergency ward on Sunday but failed to get medical attention and died on Tuesday.

A medical worker, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of victimisation, said that the hospital staff refused to attend to the woman because of their fear of the Ebola disease.

“Nobody had the courage to help the victim especially as we did not have any idea of the case history. We do not have the necessary protective kits to handle this type of case and nobody wants to take unnecessary risk. Our safety has to be guaranteed first because any one can endanger his life; that is the truth about it,” the health worker said.

It was also gathered that the morticians were hesitant to handle the remains of the patient until a senior official of the hospital intervened.

The Public Relations Officer at the FMC, Bernard Akpedi, however, explained that the death of the middle-aged woman had nothing to do with the Ebola Virus Disease.

According to him, the woman was brought to the hospital by good Samaritans and was managed by the hospital before her death.

He said that medical services were restored to the hospital following the suspension of a strike by non-medical workers on Monday.

The workers, under the auspices of the Joint Health Sector Unions, had, on August 12, embarked on an indefinite strike over outstanding promotion arrears.

Speaking on the Ebola scare, Ebitimi Etebu, a member of Bayelsa Task Force on Ebola Virus Disease, said that the state was adequately prepared to contain the outbreak of the disease.

He urged members of the public to disregard rumours of the spread of the disease to Bayelsa.

“There is no cause for alarm. The one suspected case at the Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital which presented symptoms similar to Ebola turned out negative. The Ambulance services workers have been trained and ready to convey any suspected case to the designated surveillance centres. There is no other pending case,” Mr. Etebu said.

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