Suspected Ebola patient dies; care givers at risk
Posted on: 2014-Aug-14        
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Health workers at the Accra Psychiatric Hospital are praying and hoping that a suspected Ebola patient who they attended to and who died in their arms may well prove negative for the virus.

If he proves otherwise, all who had contact with the man may well have to seek medical attention and with urgency.

On Tuesday evening Joy News learnt a patient who had previously been treated for a psychotic episode returned after the wife noticed that he was clenching his teeth.

Doctors initially thought it was a drug reaction. Deputy Director of the facility Dr. Pinaman Appau was called by nurses and rushed in to see the man going unconscious and bleeding from the nose and mouth.

She and the medical director came in wearing their gloves and managed to put the patient on the floor to keep him from chocking on his blood.

They tried to take samples of the blood but were not successful. They eventually took the sample from the blood oozing from the nose.

Within five minutes the patient was dead. There was no protective clothing and other key protective health materials to keep the care givers safe from a possible Ebola infection.

Dr Pinaman Appau, Deputy Director admits a lot went wrong in managing the case because none of them at the hospital had any knowledge on how to handle an Ebola.

"Let me put on record that since this Ebola scare started we have not had any formal education on how to handle a case," she admitted.

She said the only protective material they had were ordinary gloves which they wore.

She was candid that they had broken some principles in attending to a suspected Ebola case.

Even though a sample was finally taken and delivered to the Noguchi Institute for testing, Dr Pinaman again conceded, that sample may well be rejected because the right steps were not followed.

With the suspected Ebola patient now dead, the only option left for a thorough scientific investigation of whether he was actually infected with Ebola is all the persons who had contact with him the few hours before he died.

Dr Pinaman named them as the wife and uncle of the deceased, the security man, the taxi driver who helped carry the patient into the hospital premises, the nurses and other health workers who attended to him and herself and a colleague who attempted to resuscitate him.

All of them are and must be praying the dead person died from any other ailment, not Ebola.

Dr Pinaman said given the discussion they had with the family of the deceased it was clear the deceased had no travel history, especially to the Ebola infected countries in West Africa.

"That is our source of hope for now. A speculative hope," she admitted.

Dr Asiedu Bekoe, Public Health Specialist with the Ghana Health Service told Joy News every hospital must have a holding room or an isolation room.

He said there must be a standby team that has a clinician, a nurse, a lab person who would ensure minimal contact with a pateint.