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‘They buried my son without my notice’

…dad laments error by Connaught Hospital

SEPTEMBER 16, 2014 By Alusine Sesay

Father of 19 year-old Alfred Kalokoh has bitterly complained to Concord Times how his son, who was not tested positive for the dreaded Ebola viral disease, was last Thursday unceremoniously buried after he reportedly died at the outpatient clinic at Connaught Hospital in Freetown.

His grief stricken father, Joseph Kalokoh said: “My son never showed signs of Ebola. He was taken to the hospital after he was disturbed by a fish bone which got stuck in his throat.”

He said the boy died the same day he was taken to the Connaught Hospital, and that the hospital’s management told him to collect the remains the next day after they would have conducted a test on him.

“I went there on Friday and they could not tell me anything. It was only on Saturday that they informed me that my son was buried the very day he died,” he said. “I requested for the result of the test but they could not give it to me. They buried him along with some Ebola confirmed corpses.”

Grandmother of the deceased, Mrs. Mary Atkins, corroborated claims by the family that the teenager was not an Ebola patient.

“I prepared the food which the entire family, including the boy, ate. He complained that a bone has been stuck in his throat. We took him to the Connaught Hospital and we were told it was an ENT (ear, nose and throat) case,” she told Concord Times.

According to her, a scan was done and test conducted but the result didn’t say Ebola.

“His temperature was normal and he never vomited or had frequent stool. They told me to buy some drugs with which they treated him. I was sitting outside when they informed me that the boy had died. I went in and saw his remains .They told us to report on the following day for the result but to no avail,” she said.

What baffles her most, she noted, is that the hospital management refused giving the family result of the boy’s blood sample after his death.

Mrs. Atkins said the family is being stigmatized by neighbours after they learnt that the boy was buried by the Ebola burial team.

“People never come closer to us because they think the boy died of Ebola. We are confused because the hospital had neither given us the result of the boy’s death nor his remains. This is a complete disservice to us because the boy never died of Ebola,” she insisted.

Connaught Hospital authorities could not be reached for comments.