How Liberian-American, Patrick Sawyer, deliberately infected our staff with Ebola — First Consultant Hospital

Liberian Patrick Sawyer imported Ebola to Nigeria .... Photo Credit: FrontPage Africa

Patrick Sawyer, the Liberian-American who brought Ebola into the country, was a bio-terrorist, bent on a mission to deliberately infect as many Nigerians as possible with the deadly virus, the Chief Medical Director of First Consultant Hospital, Benjamin Ohiaeri, has said.

In a detailed interview with ThisDay newspaper, Mr. Ohiaeri spoke of how Mr. Sawyer lied to his hospital that he had no contact with any Ebola case and how he plotted to be allowed to storm the streets of Nigeria to spread the virus.

He also revealed shocking details of how Mr Sawyer deliberately and systematically infected hospital personnel with the virus.

He said the Liberian- American was not interested in receiving treatment or discussing the option available to him. Rather he demonstrated a deliberate intent to be discharged from the hospital into the public where he would have posed dire public health risk.

According to Mr Ohiaeri, he even deceptively infected a doctor who had gone to appeal to him to be calm following his violent protest to be let out of the hospital to attend a seminal in Calabar.

Mr Ohiaeri said the coldblooded manner Mr Sawyer purportedly went about infecting medical personnel at the hospital even after he was told he might be infected with the highly contagious virus suggested he was on a bio-terrorism mission to Nigeria.

On July 20, 2014, after he became ill on a flight from Monrovia to Lagos, Mr Sawyer was taken to the First Consultant Hospital in Lagos which originally treated him for malaria. But as his health worsened and began to manifest symptoms of Ebola, including diarrhea and vomiting, he was prevented from leaving the hospital.

According to multiple accounts of what happened in the days after he was taken to First Consultant Hospital, Mr. Sawyer went into a fit of rage, yanking off his intravenous line and spilling blood all over the hospital ward after he was told he would not be allowed out of the hospital as he had requested.

Eighteen Nigerians, mostly medical officials of the hospital, were infected with the virus, with seven deaths. All of the infections were traced to Mr Sawyer.

In the ThisDay interview, Mr Ohiaeri said Mr. Sawyer was not “upset” or “surprised” after he was told that he was being investigated for possible Ebola infection suggesting that he already knew that he was a carrier of the disease.

“A reasonable man would flinch when he is informed that he is going to be tested for Ebola. A reasonable man would want to know why the suspicion and what his chances of survival are and how he is going to be treated.”

“A reasonable man would not say “I must leave the hospital now!” This was very strange to us because being an articulate forty-year diplomat we expected some measure of intelligent conversation on this dreaded disease. So, we could not understand why he was so desperate and determined to leave the Hospital when we were clearly trying to investigate his situation and find the way to treat his condition.”

A review of CCTV footage from the James Spriggs Payne’s Airport, Monrovia, by Liberian newspaper, The New Dawn, suggested that Mr Sawyer was already terribly ill when he left Liberia and deliberately avoided contact with people at the airport, which suggested that he might have known he was infected with Ebola.

Though Mr Sawyer told doctors at the First Consultant that he did not have contact with any Ebola case in the weeks before he travelled to Lagos, it has now been revealed that he cared for and attended the funeral of his sister who was killed by the virus in Liberia.

In fact he was asked to stay away from work after he told his employers, ArcelorMittal, an iron mining company, of having minimal contact with his deceased sister.

Mr Ohiaeri also told ThisDay that Mr. Sawyer also deceptively infected one of the doctors who had gone to calm him after he went into a violent rage.

“Dr. Abaniwo, of his own volition, went to try to convince Mr. Sawyer to calm down and give the hospital the chance to make him better. Dr. Abaniwo is a deeply religious man who would have felt convicted to speak to Mr Sawyer – to ensure that he was alright. Sawyer seemed to calm down a little, but he then did something terrible, which caused Dr. Abaniwo to contract Ebola. He asked Dr. Abaniwo to check his eyes because his eyes had been previously injected. It is through this singular act of kindness that Dr. Abaniwo contracted the disease. Sadly, it took the confirmation of Dr. Abaniwo as Ebola carrier for the fullness of his encounter with Mr. Sawyer to be told.”

Mr Abaniwo was one of the seven people who were killed by the virus.

“What was unique about Mr. Sawyer’s condition was that Mr. Sawyer did not want to be treated and he wanted to be a terrorist and go out of his way to infect other people. Ordinary patients don’t do that. It’s bad enough taking care of Ebola and trying to bring in other people to assist. Ebola victims all over the world are begging ‘please come and help me’. But Mr. Sawyer didn’t want to be helped,” Mr Ohiaeri said.

Diplomatic Irresponsibility

Mr Ohiaeri also disclosed how his hospital came under intense pressure, included the threat of legal action and diplomatic row from the Liberian ambassador, Al Hassan Koike, for Mr. Sawyer to be released to attend the seminar in Calabar.

He said his threats were rebuffed by the strong resolve of Ameyo Adadevoh, the Chief Physician of the hospital, who became infected by Mr. Sawyer and later died of the disease.

“As if Sawyer’s behaviour were not bad enough, we soon began to receive irate calls from the Liberian Ambassador, Al Hassan Koike, who had apparently been contacted by Sawyer. The Ambassador repeatedly badgered Dr Adadevoh, ordering that Sawyer be permitted to leave the hospital and telling her that we had no authority or right to keep him. All of Dr. Adadevoh’s attempts to explain the situation, and my subsequent attempts to intervene, were shrugged off. The only thing the ambassador wanted was for Sawyer to be released, otherwise we would face charges of ‘kidnapping’. The threats were ratcheted up to the extent that he accused us of threatening an international diplomatic row, the consequences of which, he insisted, we would sorely regret,” he said.

“I took the phone from Dr. Adadevoh and tried to advise Ambassador Al Hassan Koike about our position, to assure him about our regard for the fundamental rights of Mr. Sawyer, and to advise him of the risks to Sawyer and the general public of failure to properly manage a potential Ebola situation. The ambassador was having none of it.

“Well there have been many thoughts that have crossed my mind as to the role of the Liberian ambassador in trying to secure Sawyer’s release. There is no doubt in my mind that he was a reckless person because a diplomatic mission is supposed to have rules and there is only so much that they can interfere with. Did we tell him it was Ebola? Yes we did and what was his response to that? He asked us “how are you sure”. He accused us of just trying to disparage his country and embarrass Liberia. Even when the results were out and it was confirmed positive by W.H.O lab officials, he said he wanted to see the report. Of course by that time I didn’t have time for him anymore and I just disregarded his requests because I realised that this is someone that is unreasonable. He of course became a non-issue when President Goodluck Jonathan instructed the Minister of Foreign Affairs to come and talk to me when he heard about it. Once I relayed the full facts to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, he immediately fired up a letter of protest to the Liberian government that led to the recalling of the ambassador. It was clear that he had contravened diplomatic protocol and that he had acted in bad faith.”

Mrs. Adadevoh has been posthumously praised for her good judgement in keeping Mr. Sawyer quarantined even before test result confirmed he was a carrier of Ebola at the expense of her wellbeing and for resolutely resisting pressure to discharge him from the hospital with its possible public health risk.

A thoroughbred professional

Mr Ohiaeri paid glowing tribute to Mrs. Adadevoh describing her as a “thoroughbred professional” and one of the most brilliant doctors the country has ever had.

He praised her for her resolve not to succumb to the pressure from Mr. Sawyer and the Liberian Ambassador and putting her life in line for the safety of the populace.

“We all knew Dr. Adadevoh. She is thorough, incisive, competent and compassionate. After 21 years of working with a person, you know them. We trusted her – We trusted her judgement. Here was one situation where the risks to us of getting it wrong was disproportionately insignificant to the risks to Nigerians if we unleashed an Ebola patient on an unsuspecting public. No one would be able to curtail the fallout.”

“Dr. Adadevoh, was one of the most brilliant physicians this country has ever produced. She always asked for the latest infrastructure and was always research oriented. Any medical course anywhere she will come and say “Oga there is something happening in South Africa and I want to go and do this course” and off she went. She attended various medical courses all over the world.

“As professionals, we always equip ourselves with new research orientations and best practices. Of course medical conferences help to build up knowledge, professional relationships and contacts – all of which proved invaluable when this Ebola crisis hit our hospital. We depended a lot and benefitted from our international relationships.”

The interview on which this story was based was first published by THISDAY. We are publishing this excerpt with their permission.


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  • Vi

    Stop blaming the victim. Maybe he didn’t know what he had or was afraid himself. It could have been he didn’t feel the medical system in Nigeria could help him. I wouldn’t either. What done is done. Sorry it happen but it does matter at this point.

    • Segun Surulere

      Not sure if you read the same story …. The facts are plain to see or you are trying to obsfucate the issues for reasons best known to you. Wake up and smell the coffee …. The guy was a bio-terrorist ( willing or unwillingly) his actions define him so !!!!

      • Kay Soyemi (Esq.)

        Aside not reading this particular piece, Vi also appear not to have read the words of the widow left behind by Mr. Sawyer, that the deceased travelled to Nigeria because he did not trust the Liberian health care system to heal him.

    • larry

      stop thinking with your balls ! So why did he not stay in liberia ? yet he came to nigeria and did not want to be treated at the hospital .People like you needs to be quarantined for stupldity .

      • Ndanusa

        Wow wow wow!!!!! Quarantined for stupidity. Come to think of it his stupidity is in the proportion of ebola itself

    • segun

      Do you have a head and mind that think or with which to think? Again, you said “stop blaming the victim…what is done …” Who is a victim?So Nigeria should not take stock in order to prevent a future occurrence? Hence I ask, do you have a head and mind that think or with which you use to think?

      • antonym

        Yea, what VI meant is that there is no need crying over split milk, the deed has been done- we just need to learn the lesson therein. Your bad language is unwarranted.

        • segun

          I repeat and ask if you and antonym have heads and minds with which you think. Someone -one of the Liberian elite knew he had Ebola. He did not disclose it. It was discovered. He was to be quarantined. He refused. He tried to arm twist the hospital in a most despicable manner in the typical and corrupt way of African criminal elites and political class-you have such examples in Nigeria too-using crass political power to get your way. That failed because the hospital relied on science and law. The so-called Ebola is dubiously reported as if the whole of Nigeria is sinking in Ebola. Now PT picked up the right angle to the news to shed scientific light on a burning issue , and a Vi talked about “blaming the victim… and what is done is done…” Can you please email to the scientists and health officials at First Consultant, Lagos Nigeria what you antonym and Vi have just posted here on PT platform? Yes we forgive for it is healthy, spiritual, religious and Godly to forgive. But do you want us to forgive and FAIL TO REMEMBER? You want us to forgive and NOT REMEMBER so that we have another serial deaths on our hands out of some conscious (as reported) act of a member of the elite? You must be kidding. So I repeat: do you and VI have any head and mind with which you think? You want us to go through another round of being discriminated against globally by even small African countries just because we FAIL TO REMEMBER AND STOP IT BEFORE IT HAPPENS IN FUTURE? Think my friend or take yourself out of the conversation if you do not have any reasonable thing to say. We (Nigeria) because of our God given size, space and resources will be kind and welcoming to all Africans and non-Africans-but we will do this with good sense.

          • antonym

            Segun, we have no minds and heads to think because our opinion (presumably)differs from yours? As an enlightened fellow, you need to learn how to respectfully listen to peoples opinion even though you may disagree with those opinions. I suggest you take lessons on tolerance, you will find it extremely useful.

          • segun

            Look, I am telling you and VI that you cannot extenuate your first move- which was to reduce the gravity of the evil and crime committed by deliberate infection of others by a patient-okay? It is UN-ETHICAL and EVIL for a patient who was being helped to do that. There are no other words to describe such act. If you have other words please state them here on this platform. It is wrong for anyone as you and VI try to do to reduce the gravity of the crime and evil committed by a deliberate infection of others-Nigerians by a member of the elites in another country-Liberia. It is wrong my friend. Do not try to reduce that evil and crime against humanity. This is what people who are corrupt absolutely do, people who use state power to get their way(the attempt to use the power of the Liberian embassy was an abuse of power the way Nigerian elites and members of Nigerian political class do here too-using state power to get their way), and when the implications come we are asked by people like you and VI not to talk about it. Now do your readers a favor and test the sense in what you and VI posted. To show you are “tolerant” and “kind” and “loving” just collect the posts you and VI have made here and email the posts to the families of the scientists and health officials who died as a result of Amos Sawyer’s act. Also email the posts to the health officials of First Consultant. And I repeat we Nigerians will forgive and have forgiven (at least we have not stopped anyone from coming to our country) but we WILL NOT FORGET. Why? We Nigerians have been taken for a ride too much and for too long. can you imagine countries like Ghana, Cameroun, Dominican Republic, Cote de Voire (Ivory Coast) etc discriminating against us on the basis of Ebola-all just because we were kind and welcoming? Same countries that will ask for our resources and help when they are in trouble? Come on my friend, we will FORGIVE, and WE HAVE FORGIVEN, BUT and BUT WE WILL NOT FORGET . Why? We do not want to be DUMB next time. If you Call that “intolerance”-so be it. But I call on you to send/post your “tolerance” “kindness” “love” by a fast courier to the families of those who died and the health officials of First Consultant Hospital. That way we know you are really “tolerant” and “kind” and “loving”

          • Mohstone

            Thank you my brother. If they truly have brains in their heads they should understand that their remarks are very unpleasant and insulting.

          • I wonder why West Africans refuse to call on their deceitful MEN OF GOD
            (e.g., Adeboye and TBJ) to start laying hands on Ebola patients

          • Bigzy

            Why don’t you get off your high horse? I am getting fed-up of hearing you repeat the same thing over and over again. I hold no brief for these so called Pastors, but you are begining to grate on me.

          • Ndanusa

            Silence would’ve been best for “it”

          • Mohstone

            He is a fraudster. He wants people to visit his page and see adverts so that he can make moni. He is no differen from the pastors he castigate everyday. Infact, he is a criminal.

      • V

        You are crying over “spilled milk” what done is done. So what is the reason for crying over this? The man is died..the disease was spread. Help build up Nigeria’s medical system to handle diseases to come. Encourage safe medical practices, etc. The few cases in America where cured..glad I am an American wink

    • Matthew Aregbesola

      According to his wife,was fully aware he had it and wanted to seek medical treatment in Nigeria because he didn’t trust the Liberian health system.

    • Ndanusa

      Moronic unpatriotic comment

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  • Lisa Hawks

    he is a bastard, he knew he had it and chose to infect other people ON PURPOSE!!!

    • I wonder why West Africans refuse to call on their deceitful MEN OF GOD
      (e.g., Adeboye and TBJ) to start laying hands on Ebola patients.

    • Tunsj

      I couldn’t agree more. Double bastard indeed.

      • dicsa

        Understatement

  • Aboki

    Nigeria need to seek prosecution of that ambassador for being an accomplice and accessory to crime of bio terrorism. The ambassador is an irresponsible fellow given a wrong job. An ambassador suppose to be an informed person not an empty politician issuing empty threat of diplomatic row.

  • JH

    This was never low water mark… yep. He really where a successful terrorist. Sarkasm off.

  • iynaroc

    This story sounds credible. Most likely the healthcare workers got infected because they originally were treating him for malaria rather than Ebola. Just like the hospital in Texas, the Lagos hospital should have realized that somebody from Liberia with such symptoms should have been assumed to have Ebola and immediately quarantined for Ebola until test results confirmed otherwise. If that had happened, Mr. Sawyer wouldn’t have been able to infected others. The Liberian authorities who approved his travel were very negligent.

    • Why are West Africans not calling for their ANOINTED of the Lord
      (e.g., Adeboye and TBJ) to start laying hands on Ebola patients?

  • DecodeDaRiddle

    The moral of the story is while black people like to sneak around and evade the proper channels, a few who always see the need for best practices be done should be encouraged to get into the majority.
    White patients of ebola in the US made themselves known, they reported themselves but the black people were dubious about it.
    The best hands should always stand their grounds for the good of the rest. The doctors that helped contain the issue should be celebrated and honored such that it becomes desirable for others to stand for the truth and right always.

  • Es3

    Quote: “He of course became a non-issue when President Goodluck Jonathan
    instructed the Minister of Foreign Affairs to come and talk to me when
    he heard about it. Once I relayed the full facts to the Minister of
    Foreign Affairs, he immediately fired up a letter of protest to the
    Liberian government that led to the recalling of the ambassador. It was
    clear that he had contravened diplomatic protocol and that he had acted
    in bad faith.”
    ———————————————————————————————————————————————————–

    I thought that according to Fashola and his APC lying machine had concluded that knew nothing, talk-less of doing anything, about Mr. Sawyer exported Ebola Virus Disease (EVD)?!!!

    More truths will continue to emerge that will equally continue to expose APC as incurable liars!!!