Toronto TV News – Barbados Hospital “Squalid, Crumbling, Urine On Floor”

The story of an elderly Canadian who broke his hip on vacation is developing into major negative publicity for Barbados in the Canadian media.

According to Toronto’s Pulse 24 Television News, 91 year-old Guiessepe Fiorillo “was sent to a crumbling and ill equipped hospital” in Barbados where the conditions are “squalid” and “abysmal” with urine on the floor and “birds flying into the room.”

Regardless of any hyperbole or inaccuracies in the story, the fact that a major television station in Canada’s largest city (population over 3 million plus suburbs) is saying such things about Barbados is not a good thing.

What will be the response of the Barbados government and tourism organizations?

Minister of Health Jerome Walcott told The Nation Newspaper that he disputes parts of the Toronto TV story, but that the Queen Elizabeth Hospital had its “challenges”.

Well, that should inspire confidence in any Canadians contemplating a visit to Cricket World Cup in 2007.

A glass of rum punch for Toronto blogger & Bajan, Jdid at Doan Mind Me. (Hey Jdid, how’s the new little one and Mommy doin?)


Filed under Barbados, Island Life, Politics & Corruption, Traveling and Tourism

21 responses to “Toronto TV News – Barbados Hospital “Squalid, Crumbling, Urine On Floor”

  1. Iko Davidson

    I started to write here saying that the report was an overstatement and that the hospital was ONLY in need of various upgrading / fixing / painting. But the more I thought about it and wrote, I realized that the hospital is in great disrepair. So I deleted that and started as above.

    THE TRUTH IS – Barbados is no second class country in the international arena at this stage, we have world class communications, we all have new cars on the roads, we all have fairly decent jobs, we all aspire to live in better homes, we enjoy having $5.00 coffee and sandwiches at specialty shops while at work or play, all in all we are enjoying a period of growth (even though it’s getting harder / more expensive to enjoy it all) and we should demand and expect the best medical facility that can be provided of international quality.

    Having to walk through dingy corridors and an entrance that looks like it was never upgraded since the 70’s (dirty walls, wood finishes and signage that is terrible) – when I last visited there in December the main elevators were not working, we had to take the patient all over the hospital to find an elevator that was working and then walk back to the other end to find the ward. To add insult – have you ever looked inside the elevators – they have not been cleaned since the 70’s either, they are disgusting inside (all of them) disgusting!!

    The equipment story is another one! I think we have highly trained doctors, but in many cases they don’t have all the equipment that would make diagnosis more accurate. That is, they may have it but does it work?
    It is disgraceful of all governments that have let it get this way and even more disgraceful that the present government has let it get to this!!
    Everywhere I go I am hearing more displeasure at this government, and the more I think about it my vote may just swing another way… to bad I still don’t see another leader yet…but that is another matter.

    Please note – I have never seen urine on the floors at the hospital and would find that hard to believe – that is an overstatement of the facts, but it does need one hell of a clean up and refurbishment!

  2. John

    Have you seen the articles on the prison in Barbados in yesterday’s Nation by Terrence George Donaldson who served a four year drug related sentence? There is supposed to be a Part II today, Saturday March 25th, 2006.

    These give one possible explanation of what was going on when the prisoners burnt down Glendairy but three questions remain for the powers that be.

    1) When will the enquiry into the fire at Glendairy be conducted so we can get the official explanation?

    2) Who won the $100 million tender to build the new prison in St. Philip?

    3) What were the Tendered Sums for the new prison?

  3. John

    I would have to put in a good word for the QEH as I have had the personal experience of having a loved one admitted there at death’s door.

    That was in 2000 and two weeks later, after major surgery she was out and made a full recovery and is with us today.

    I never witnessed anything but careful attention to detail in the public ward where she was placed. I did witness overworked nurses and yes, because of the way in which the Hospital is built with natural ventilation, I did see sparrows in the ward which some patients enjoyed feeding.

    Yes, QEH can be improved, but it is not all bad.

  4. BFP

    Hello John and Iko

    I am of two minds about the QEH story… firstly we all know that the place needs serious money and new equipment, but the staff have always been most professional and caring any time that my family or friends had cause to be there. The urine on the floor for hours is a bit much for me to believe… but it has been a few years since I’ve been there.

    Maybe the QEW doesn’t meet the same standards as Toronto or New York, but why shouldn’t it? Are we some 3rd world country? I don’t think so!

    So it is about the priorities of the government… and obviously for the last 12 years, the Government of Barbados had priorities other than health care. (Yes… like how many members of the government drive Mercedes?)

    What is of concern is that the “upper crust” Brits and North American retired people who Barbados is trying to attract are not likely to visit if our medical care is not world class.

    Very short sighted of the Government to think that they will attract monied classes without first-rate health care facilities.

  5. Jane

    ….and we are less than a year away from the showcase event!

  6. ……They are two stories in this article. This man was inconvience by Toronto’s lack of hospital beds to recieved him, and his family was alarmed by the conditions of the QEH. If faced with the choices above concerning a life threathening incident i would rather be alarm at the condition of the healthcare facility than to be denied access to one. Now i see a common failing of universal healthcare, these two situation are not uncommon in England or in those states of America that practice State sponsored universal healthcare, such as the City of Boston. This is at the core to the problem in Canada, Barbados, England, and the States, as any honest resident of those socieities will agree.

  7. Jane

    Adrian, I can only say good things about the care I and many others I know have received at the QEH. The staff are extremely efficient. The place needs urgent attention though and the country needs positive things to be happening at the QEH sooner rather than later. This is even more important becuase there are going to be so many more people here next year. Other countries have big problems too but this country is our responsibility.

  8. Jane: I hear you and i don’t doubt your experience. In my previous contribution i sought to contrast the two stories in the article, it wasn’t a commentry on the professionalism of the QEH staff. All the problems that i have heard of over the years at the QEH dealt for the most with administration and management, whether it be facilities management, or healthcare delivery management, very few bad comments were found with the actual care once given or started.

    The Incident to my mind is more glaring for Toronto than it is for Barbados. A fractured hip for a 91 yr old person is a serious life threathening incident, indeed most trauma inducing situations would be for someone so old. To be seen by a Doctor and other healthcare personell is of outmost importance and urgency. Faced with a no bed (no healthcare) hospital and one that needs a little paint, newer beds, and a quicker response to removing waste, but that has a Doctor and other healthcare personel and a bed nevertheless available, which one will you choose? which one should be the big story? Only in a world where the confusion of symbols and reality is so profound, that Barbados would get the negative press. The real problem is Socialize healthcare.

  9. Jen

    Actually…. I could believe the man who broke his hip… I know of an elderly person who was left in a soiled diaper for hours because a nurse didn’t want to have to change it… Q.E. certainly isn’t perfect… But you can’t show me a public hospital that is…

  10. An overworked nurse . .

    I can tell you for certain that many of the allegations are true. I worked at the QEH. The bedrails are made of wood, they are tied onto the rails with gauze strips, there is a serious lack of resources and equipment. I cannot speak of that patient’s specific incident, but the things that were said were quite routine and commonplace.

  11. Dorma hoyos

    My Mom died in Barbados while I call an ambulance it took about an hour to get one and that QEH is the nastiest hopsital period.

    When I went to the morgue to claim my beloved moms body….They took me on a nice scenic tour where I saw autopsies being preformed through an opened door I fainted..
    Then the mourtary the pathologists and guys walking around in scrubs…and they had you wait like sardines and opened doors wearing masks…and showing babies morgues…
    I am sorry I feel sorry for Barbadians there is a roughness unpolished feel inhumane feel to QEH,
    I wouldn’t take a dying dog to that hospital Our veternary hospitals are better in the US…..

  12. Dorma hoyos

    My doctor who deilverd my baby in the Us did a short residency there he was appalled
    he said our the windows still borken at QRH do birds still fly in the windows.

    I am sorry I very highly doubt Barbados’s QEH will ever get OSHA approval..
    such a country that tries to make itself a second world or first world country
    Let’s talk about human rights and mainly Domestic abuse there /Article us Justice Dept Bajan men like to beat women.
    It’s true…how do I know I was an American married to a wealthy abusive bajan man.
    I lived a nightmare there…still have to go back for my rights have been trampled on and my child has been abducted by this Non Hague country thats right they want Canadian dollars US dollars and act like Tehran Iran in the treatment of women US state dept discusses Domestic abuse and the severity of child abuse . bad prison conditions etc…

    I can tell you there prison one would be better to ask to executed it is about as bad as Nazi concentration camps.
    I wonder if the words civil rights human rights are in the Bajans vocabulary,
    I know Amnesty international has not had favorable things to say about Barbados in the past and many women from Gaunya are beaten and tortured by Bajan men…
    There comercials lure you with happy smiles on beautiful beaches Welcoming you to barbados a country where the haves out weigh the haves not and a box of cereal costs us 7 dollars and hr and people have no miniumum slary more like slave wages all that is missing is the bullwhip..
    it’s sad and I married a wealthy man and living in a class system with no middle class and so much poverty hurt me to see..
    But this is the real Barbados….

  13. Dorma hoyos

    Barbados also allows fathers to take and keep American /Canadian children from birth mothers.]

    My son was born in the USA raised for most of his 7 years on American Soil and recently my husband lured me to barbados so he could kidnap our son ,

    He has pysically abused me, beat on me emotionally traumatized me…turned off utilies in my home in Barbados and made my life an utter hell on earth on this island sad to say Barbados is still very much a thrid world country ,sadly they are not party to the hague convention

  14. Terese

    I have heard several comments about how disgusting QEH have been. All of the connotively negative statements represent how the people truly feel about this particuliar health care agent. however i have failed to hear people question the STANDARD OF CARE FOR CLIENTS!!!! WHY?? the standard of care in a hospital is very important and is what we base the minimum or basic health care deliverance for clients. Has anyone questioned the PHILOSOPHY, MISSION STATEMENT, OR VISION. these three basic values provides the framework for the delivery of nursing care and medical services to patients. Too often patients visit facilities without seeking information regarding these core values. Patients often wait unitl something is wrong and they are challenged to inquire about these significant statements. Some clients may not even realize they exist, especially our older population. I am a Registered Nurse in a very Busy regional, Level I trauma center. Believe me when i tell you things get very hectic in a hospital setting, but urine on the floor is unacceptable by no means. urine on the floor takes precedence over an abundance of nursing tasks because that could eventually lead to a “coattail” of several events, anywhere from clients falling breaking hips, being bed bound due to the broken hip, which ultimately may cause pneumonia, fat embolism, pulmonary embolism, stroke, and sometimes death. Also keep in mind of bad publicity from media which i feel barbados is getting right now. Barbados is not a third world country and is a wonderful place to live. My Grand father lives in Barbados a long with the rest of my paternal side of family. I refuse to believe the QEH is below substandard nursing care. I do believe that guidelines and accrediting organizations like JACHO and ACHA need to be in place to ensure hospitals meet the requirements of standard of care.

  15. Terese Toppin

    People have to start looking at the problem and saying “How can i help the problem”. If QEH needs repairs and rebuilding then “The People” should be willing to contribute to the solution, not the problem.
    Take Ownership

    lend a helping hand when needed

    Stop complaining, ( doesn’t help anyway!)

    be willing to write to the goverment, local representatives, nursing and medical organizations.

    Be willing to ask for advice from other countries. (don’t let pride stop you!!)

    be willing to allow change to occur

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  18. Dorma

    I am crazy, I suffer from depression and i am mad at the world. Please forgive me Barbados i am soo sorry

  19. hmmmm

    I don’t think Dorma wrote this last post.

  20. BA/7

    hmmmmm, your observation is probably correct.

    BFP can you please remove the comment?

  21. What a truly joy of a read!!