Motion For New Trial In JKF Case Denied —As Payment Of US$ 4.5M To Patient Ordered By: Yassah J Wright

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Judge Ousman F. Feika of Civil Law Court Annex of Montserrado County- Liberia has denied the John F. Kennedy (JKF) Hospital team of lawyers the Motion for new trial. In his ruling, Judge Feika said it is the holding of the court that the unanimous verdict of the jury should not be disturbed.  The Judge further said the motion for new trial should be and the same is hereby denied and dismissed and the resistance thereto sustained and it is hereby so ordered. 

Judge Feika revealed that the charge given to the jury of this Court, adding that the jury did not deviate because the jury as trier of facts was instructed by the Court to return with a verdict of liable.  “If it found that the respondent established the truth during trial or “not liable.”  He stated that the truth therefore would be that the jury believed the story of the plaintiffs and gave credibility and weight to its testimonies as against JFK  Hospital.  Judge Feika noted that because the jury is the trier of facts, it is within its purview to determine what evidence to consider in arriving at a verdict.  The Civil Law Annex Judge said the discretion of the jury cannot be interfered with, in as much as the jury acted within the scope of its authority and the charge given to it by him. It can be re-called that the Management of John F. Kennedy Medical Center (JFK) has been held liable and ordered to pay  US$ 1  million lawsuit as general damages and US$3.1m special damages for a wrongful surgical operation performed on one of its patients identified as madam Karen Gaydou Sehkehporh of Paynesville City. The case against Liberia’s biggest medical facility took place in the Sixth Judicial Circuit, Civil Law Court at the Temple of Justice. The Management of John F. Kennedy Medical Center had pleaded not guilty during the trial. But the petit jurors in the court October 27, 2023 said they found the evidence against the hospital compelling and rejected the hospital’s plea. The Jurors’ unanimous liable verdict found that the evidence presented before the court “greatly implicate” the defendant. The Jurors rejected the arguments by the hospital’s legal team.  “We, therefore, find the defendant liable as charged,” the jurors ruled. The Management of the hospital was arraigned in court during the month of October on the account of damages for wrongful surgical operation carried out on one of its patients (Karen) in 2019.  Appearing before the court, complainant Karen said JFK is the place where she received medical treatment. Karen explained that on May 24, 2019, she started experiencing heavy bleeding and went to the Snapper Hill Clinic where and did some test; and after she received the results, she was referred to the JFK for immediate surgery. The complainant further informed the court that for the purpose of the surgery she began visiting the defendant’s facility as at May 30, 2019. She said upon visit to the facility, she was introduced to Dr. Ernest Enders, medical personnel employed with and working with defendant’s medical facilities who was assigned to take care of her. According to her, the doctor requested numerous tests and informed her that he needed to perform Abdominal Hysterectomy Surgery and that her ovaries would be removed by him because of possible ovarian cancer. “He carried on his tests in collaboration with Dr. Billy Johnson, a consultant at JFK who agreed with Dr. Enders and a date was set for the surgery,” she stated. Karen intimated that she was instructed to come on June 12, 2019 to be admitted at the hospital for surgery. The surgery was performed as scheduled and she was discharged on June 16, 2019. She noted that during her first visit at the hospital after the surgery, she was examined by Dr. Enders and was told that she doing good and was cleared to go back to start work and engage in other activities. The complainant averred that in reliance upon the clearance given, she went back to work but unfortunately she started experiencing serious pains in her belly and legs. Karen said she informed the JFK about the situation but was given drugs; unfortunately her condition got worse as she could not sleep, eat, nor drink. Explaining her ordeal further, she said while her health condition deteriorated, the hospital neglected her. She decided to go to fidelity Health Center where there were multiple surgeries performed on her to stop the stomach pain, remove the pus in her belly, end the bleeding and reduce the swollen of the belly. She said during one of the surgical operation by Fidelity hospital, it was astonishing to doctors to found abdominal gauze inside her body with pieces of her flesh stuck on it as a result of the abdominal gauze left in her body by JFK’s doctor who performed the previous surgery. The complainant asserted that a communication was written to JFK’s management about the situation but they only visited her once, express regrets, extended apology and left without helping in the recovery process. Meanwhile, the defendant on Monday, October 30, 2023 filed a motion for new trial requesting that said verdict be set aside because it does not support the weight of the evidence adduced at the trial.

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