Two days after his sister Princess's death, Patrick Sawyer sent out a disheartening email to a few close friends and associates as well as a senior official at the ECOWAS Commission in Abuja.
The communication obtained by FrontPageAfrica, for the first time offers a glimpse into the mind of Mr. Sawyer and what he was thinking prior to his now controversial death in Lagos.
Promising Young Life 'Cheated'
The email dated July 10, 2014 reads:
From: Patrick O. Sawyer <
Date: Thu, Jul 10, 2014 at 6:09 AM
Subject: Ebola Struck Close to Home
To: Benetta Tarr <
"H. Urias Harrington"
My junior sister, Miss Princess Christina Nyennetue (Age 27) died on Tuesday July 8th at the St. Joseph Catholic Hospital. At my request, the Ministry of Health agreed to extract blood specimens from her body in search for cause of death and the result just came in this morning...she died of Ebola Disease. Princess was the only girl child of my mother's 5 children...this make it particularly difficult for us especially for my mother who lives alone in Southwest Philadelphia . If you Facebook searched my late sister Princess, you will soon realize that death has cheated a promising young life. Thanks to you all once more for your many messages of condolence and best wishes. Good day.
*Patrick Oliver Sawyer / Head *
*ECOWAS NATIONAL OFFICE*
*MINISTRY OF FINANCE & DEVELOPMENT PLANNING *
An inquiry for a response sent out to some of those included on Sawyer's email, were not returned as this story went to press. But Sawyer's message has now thrown a monkey wrench into an explanation offered by his widow, Decontee, in a social network op-ed this week.
Decontee Sawyer implied that her husband had a distrust of the healthcare system in Liberia and this contributed to him possibly concealing his illness and making the trek to Nigeria.
Said Mrs. Sawyer: "Patrick went to Nigeria for help so that he can get properly diagnosed, and not misdiagnosed in Liberia. And if it came back that he did have Ebola, he trusted the Nigerian healthcare system a lot more than he trusted the Liberian's. His action, as off as it was, was a desperate plea for help. Patrick didn't want to die, and he thought his life would be saved in Nigeria."
Added Mrs. Sawyer: "He didn't tell me this, but I know in my heart of hearts that Patrick was determined to get to Nigeria by all means because he felt that Nigeria would be a place of refuge. He has expressed to me many times in the past that he felt passionately about helping to be a part of strengthening Liberia's healthcare system, but he knew it wasn't there yet, and he wouldn't want to take a chance with his life because a lot of people depended on him... Patrick had a passion for life, and he wouldn't have wanted his to end. So, I bet anything that he was thinking, if I could only get to Nigeria, a way more developed country than Liberia, I would be able to get some help. How ironic."
Email Contradicts Widow
In contrast, Patrick Sawyer's email suggests that contrary to the picture painted by his widow, Decontee, he did have some faith in the health system and relied on the tests ordered on his request to doctors at the Catholic Hospital who concluded that his sister died from Ebola.
In fact, on Friday, July 11, 2014, a day after Sawyer sent out the email about his sister's death, ArcellorMittal, the mining company where Sawyer worked as a consultant put out a notice in its company newsletter, The Satellite in which it informed employees that Sawyer's sister had died from Ebola.
The Mittal communication reads:
Important Ebola Notice to All Employees and Contractors
A family member of an ArcelorMittal Liberia employee died on Tuesday, July 8th, in Monrovia due to a confirmed case of the Ebola virus. The employee had minimal contact with the victim, at the state where the virus was infectious. Doctors say the risk of potential transfer to any member of the ArcelorMittal staff or contractors is very low.
The employee has submitted to the Ministry of Health for a medical examination for possible Ebola infection, and has also requested the Ministry of Health to make the result available to ArcelorMittal Liberia and its close affiliates. There is no evidence to suggest that the employee has been infected.
Under the Ministry of Health guidelines, the employee is being monitored on a daily basis and will continue to do so for a period of 21 days. During this time the employee will be absent from work.
ArcelorMittal Liberia is providing all support necessary to the employee and his family during this very difficult time, and our thoughts are with them.
On Friday, July 25th, 2014, Mittal's news letter put out another notice informing its staff that Patrick Sawyer had died.
The communication reads:
I am writing to inform you that today ArcelorMittal received information that the employee whose family member died on Tuesday July 8th in Monrovia due to a confirmed case of the Ebola virus has died today, from a suspected case of Ebola. Results of the Ebola test are awaited.
The first thing I want to reassure everyone is that the employee, Patrick Sawyer, had very limited contact with his ArcelorMittal colleagues since his contact with the victim and therefore we do not believe anyone working at ArcelorMittal will be at risk. Patrick was last at the Buchanan site on 9th July when he informed us about the death of his sister.
We are speaking directly with those who met Patrick on this day to reassure them of this fact.
Having informed us of this news, Patrick was submitted to the Ministry of Health for a medical observation and isolation and requested not to return to work until he had passed through the incubation period. He has not been at the Buchanan site or in any ArcelorMittal office since that time.
Our thoughts and support are with his family at this very difficult time.
In the meantime, we continue to urge every employee and contractor to take the greatest level of care with regards to their health. As you are all aware, ArcelorMittal is using Thermoflash scanners to measure the temperature of each employee as this is a useful initial screening sign for Ebola.
Any employee or contractor with a high temperature will be referred to medical personnel who will examine and, if necessary, direct the individual to a secure area.
We recognize this is difficult news, particularly for those who knew Patrick, who was a very committed and valued employee.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact your head of department.
What Sawyer failed to mention in his communication to the Ecowas officials and others, was the fact that he himself was under observation as stated in the ArcelorMittal communication to its employees. Until his departure from Liberia, Sawyer was not cleared to return to work at Mittal, and according to Mr. Sebastian Muah, the former Deputy Finance Minister for Budget at the center of the Sawyer Ebola scandal, Sawyer deceived him(Muah) and the Ministry regarding his travel to Nigeria, revealing for the first time that Sawyer's travel was made possible not by the Government of Liberia but by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
Said Muah: "Upon checking his government emails I was able to uncover that he was communicating differently and directly with ECOWAS Commission (both using his Yahoo and gov.lr) and got an e-ticket from the Commission's travel Unit. He did NOT even inform the ECOWAS Ambassador in Liberia, who was traveling with him about his situation. His email to folks at ECOWAS only said he had lost his sister."
'Terrorist' Claim from Nigerian Presidency
During a recent FrontPageAfrica fact-finding reporting trip to Lagos, diplomats and medical executives confided to FPA that Sawyer was tested for both malaria and HIV AIDS. However, when both tests came back negative, he was then asked whether he had made contact with any person with the Ebola Virus, to which Sawyer denied. Sawyer's sister, Princess had died of the deadly virus on Tuesday, July 8, 2014 at the Catholic Hospital in Monrovia. On Friday, July 25, 2014, 18 days later, Sawyer died in Lagos.
The aftermath of his death has now left Nigerians viewing the circumstances leading to his death with an eye of suspicion.
In Abuja Monday, President Goodluck Jonathan described Mr Sawyer's decision to travel to Nigeria as pure "madness" and "craziness." "Sawyer that brought this Ebola to Nigeria; his sister died of Ebola. And he started acting somehow, his country asked him not to leave the country, let them observe him, but the crazy man decided to leave and found his way here," President Jonathan said.
The Nigerian Daily, This Day reported this week that Jonathan's office went a step further by tagging Sawyer, credited with the importation of the virus into Nigeria as "a terrorist"; re-echoeing the feeling of many Nigerians who have not forgiven him for knowingly introducing the killer disease.
The newspaper quoting the Senior Special Assistant to Jonathan on Youths and Students, Mr Jude Imagwe as saying that Sawyer's misguided action has brought pains and hardship upon Nigerians who have been going about their daily duties. "Such a man deserves to rot in hell", the official is quoted as saying.
A FrontPageAfrica investigation this week reported that Sawyer may have contracted the virus when he took his sister to the hospital complaining that she was bleeding profusely and possibly experiencing hemorrhaging during her pregnancy. Some staffers at the hospital told FPA that some of Sawyer's sister blood was on his clothing and his body. At least six doctors and nurses have died at the Catholic Hospital since the Sawyers' ordeal and at least three in Lagos, Nigeria with scores of others under quarantine.
By Rodney D. Sieh
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