The Minister of Public Health Dr. Manouda Malachie has in a release signed on April 2nd, 2019 suspended three nurses of the Deido District Hospital in the littoral region of Cameroon for breach of professional ethics. The three nurses are Ndonda epse Mbella Fidele Marie, Ntogni Celestine epse Kouamo and Nlontchi Ndeko.
Their suspension comes on the hills of an incident that happened on Friday, March 29th at Government Bilingual High School Deido where Bello, a 17-year-old form five student was stabbed to death by his own school mate. The student was taken to the Deido district hospital but died shortly after. Hours later, photos and videos of the dying student went viral on social media.
The images were reportedly filmed by the three nurses who have been suspended. Unfortunately for the nurses, they did not only film the boy but also took pictures of themselves at the scene; pictures which have been highly criticized by most Cameroonians. The nurses have been blamed for concentrating on their phones and neglecting the critical situation. It is on this basis that Minister Malachie has decided to put the three medical practitioners on suspension. Their suspension is going to last for a period of three months with no salary.
Some Cameroonians see the suspension as insufficient. According to them, the licenses of the nurses should be revoked and they should be banned from ever practicing the profession. Others have however hailed the minister for doing what his predecessors failed to do in previous years, considering that they have been many related cases of negligence in many hospitals which have gone unpunished.
An example of such is an incident happened in March 2016 where a pregnant woman with twins named Monique Koumate arrived the premises of the Douala Laquintinie hospital in an unconscious state.
She was discovered death but her family members noticed that the children were still kicking and pleaded with the Doctors in the hospital to operate on her. The Doctors refused and asked that she should be taken to the mortuary. The sister of the deceased took a blade and operated on her and brought out the babies. One of the babies was death and the other was alive but later died. If only the Doctors gave due attention to the situation, perhaps that child would still be alive today. The situation went unpunished.
There have also been situations where people have been involved in accidents and others bring out their mobile phones to take pictures of the victims just to post on the social media instead of rendering help to the victims. It appears people derive pleasure from being credited as the first persons to post the images than saving lives.
There are also scenarios where citizens walk into public offices and find workers on duty either playing games on their phones, browsing on Facebook or chatting on whatsApp instead of doing what they are paid for.
The case of the three nurses is therefore not an isolated case. Many of such related cases have either gone unnoticed or unpunished. It is therefore a wakeup call for all of us to be reasonable and ethical in the use of our phones and the social media. Before we remove our phones to take pictures of people in critical conditions, we should stop for a minute and ponder if the families of the victims would be happy seeing distressing images of their love ones all over social media.