The Only Echocardiogram Machine At Queen Elizabeth Hospital Is Broken – Barbados Health Minister Praises CWC Health Preparations

To Our Cricket World Cup Visitors – Try Not To Have That Heart Attack In Barbados!

Truth Just Doesn’t Matter To This Government

Bajans are so used to the daily disconnect between government hype and the reality of living in a society where one can’t even count on water to come out of the tap every morning that we are seldom shocked or angry anymore.

To protect ourselves from our failing infrastructure, we have developed a culture of low expectations and automatic compensation techniques.

If we can’t rely upon the water to be there in the morning, we fill a pail with washwater at night. If the roads have been in a mess for six months, no problem – we catch an earlier ZR (minibus).

So we expect little and make do a dozen different ways each day to compensate for a government that spends HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS on cricket, and hotel investment scams and fancy cars for government officials, but little on the things that ordinary people view as important.

But then we run into a brick wall when our loved one is sick and the hospital lacks even basic supplies like surgical gloves, cleaning supplies or even TOILET PAPER.

(Please excuse my shouting, but I am so very angry tonight.)

Two Stories Of Health Care In Barbados

One story is the daily government spin, and the other is reality for someone who is loved by many. Perhaps the Minister of Health or the Prime Minister can reconcile these two stories, but I can’t.

Again I have to go into work tonight with no sleep after a a couple of weeks of trying to compensate for a government that would rather paint some houses as a pre-election giveaway than to ensure the hospital has enough surgical gloves and toilet paper.

I am so very tired and angry.

Health Story #1 – Barbados Health Minister Praises Caribbean Health Preparedness For CWC

Barbados Health Minister Dr Jerome Walcott, who heads the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) sub-committee on Health for CWC 2007 … delivered the opening address at the 3rd World Congress of Science and Medicine in Cricket in Barbados.

Walcott expressed pride in the role played by the Ministries of Health in the preparations for staging the tournament. He said that his Ministry had to enhance several key services in ensuring that the health of the nationals, residents and visitors was maintained at the highest level possible…

… excerpt from Caribbean Net News (link here)

Health Story #2 – Only Echocardiogram At Queen Elizabeth Hospital Is Broken And A Family Is Desperate For A Loved One

* Excerpt from an email sent around to friends. For the information of our readers, George in this article is not “BFP George”…

My Dear Friends,

This is to let you know that on 07 April, Easter Sunday morning, our brother George* suffered a severe heart attack and now lies VERY critically ill on a respirator at the Q.E.H. George had just entered church (7.00 a.m.) with his wife Rayn, when the symptoms became more uncomfortable and was leaving in search of some pain killers, a nurse noticed that he was unwell and went to his assistance, calling an ambulance.

I had just returned (8.00 a.m.) from my Easter service when Rayn called to give me the information. Shortly after I arrived at the hospital George was transferred from the X-Ray to the STAT (the ICU of casualty) room, where is still, and receiving even better attention than if a bed had been available in ICU. The pain had subsided, and when Rayn arrived and he appeared comfortable – I returned home.

George then suggested to Rayn that she too go home and have something to eat and feed the pets as we knew that he would have to be monitored for at least a day and the tests would have to be repeated in another 4 hours.

A very lovely Dr. Harvey called Rayn at home and asked her to bring pyjamas for him. On her return Dr. Harvey met Rayn and advised that shortly after speaking with her, George had ‘taken a turn for the worse’. – Rayn called and Mary and I left for the hospital.

We were told that George again complained of severe pain, his heart stopped beating, he was revived with shock treatment, shortly after he again complained of pain and his heart again stopped, he was revived with shock treatment a second time, sedated, and put on a respirator.

The readings from the ECG’s indicate severe damage to the lower left and right ventricles and the right side wall, however, the clearer picture will not be known until an ECO cardiogram is done – and, unfortunately the one at the QEH is not working and he is too critical to be transferred to a location outside the hospital, and, a portable unit is not reliable.

However, he is receiving the best care and attention that they have to offer.

20 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Cricket, Health, Politics & Corruption

20 responses to “The Only Echocardiogram Machine At Queen Elizabeth Hospital Is Broken – Barbados Health Minister Praises CWC Health Preparations

  1. Knowledge is Power

    Hospital care is in need of urgent attention in Barbados. Why does the A & E at the hospital not work. A&E is under staffed and cramped in its current location, patients are made to wait in corridors and in the asthma bay because no beds are available. I lost my father a little over a year ago, and while I will not suggest that it was the A&E treatment that lead to his death what I can emphatically say is that his final hours were pure HELL. Held in A&E for over 10 hours with only a cursory glance from a doctor. No place to lie down we had to string 3 chairs together in the asthma bay. Junior nurse botched at least 3 attempts to take blood leaving him brused and in discomfort. Finally admitted to A ward ( where only beds were available) we experienced kind and caring help from staff there, but our experiences descended rapidly when he was sent for dialysis. The nursing staff was unmannerly, and blatently rude. On leaving dialysis my father said he would rather die than go through that experience again. He died two days later. Oh forgot to mention his day in A & E was the day of CWC simulation.

  2. TechNo

    Amazing how, when such hi-tech Modern Medicine machines arrive at QEH and are emplaced and ready…how one hears about them, in the local newspapers,etc.
    “Barbados now has a xxxxx Machine” and our health system is now that much better. And it is.
    Until the danged thing breaks down because the saline atmosphere got to the electronics of the thing,
    or the un-clean electricity supply zapped its Power Supply(instructions dictated the machine be hooked up to a Power Conditioner, not just plugged into the wall for that ‘raw’ electricity supply)-(or its mother board)
    – OR that Supervisor Klutz didn’t brief everyone on the intricacies of its workings,
    and orderly X jook de wrong button…

    When such machines go belly-up, someone has a quick tinker with it, and it may, or may not, resume function.
    The public though, still feel and think that WE have a super-duper machine.
    Boys and Girls, we have many such machines, just Not Working.
    Check the basement Workshop!!

    Same thing applies at the M.T.W. or whatever it’s called,these days.
    Just pass their boneyard at the Pine (West of the Licensing Authority) where there is a YARD FULL of expensive tractors,trucks,pavers,road rollers etc. all derelict, abandoned, millions of Your Taxpayer Dollars rusting to death,
    for lack of a few parts, or some other simple reason/excuse (while Mia’s Trucking Co. fortuitously takes up the slack).

    We’re not very good at Maintenance, are we?

  3. Jerome Hinds

    That is the BLP propaganda machinery for you !

  4. TechNo

    Dear Knowledge,
    Sorry to hear of your Dad’s unfortunate passing, particularly under the stressful conditions you state!

    I think you’re too polite. I think the TEN LONG HOURS in tedious A&E very much set him up for the next (downspiralling) forty-eight hours,
    by which time he got his wish..to simply DIE rather than go thru the abyssmal lack of 21st.Century medical assistance in today’s “First World Barbados” !!

    A&E may not have directly killed him,
    but they did their best to help, any way they could!

    – and you can interpret that last sentence any way you like!

    Take a tip: when stuff like this happens to your dad, go to FMH in 3rd. Avenue Belleville!
    Even if there’s a bit of a wait (busy night?) it won’t be 10 hrs., and you get to see medical people who actually care a bit, (not underpaid, under-motivated Government workers)

  5. Lady Anon

    Tech No…while I agree with you as it relates to urgent care (FMH vs QEH), a note of caution…any serious, severe medical conditions are immediatly referred to QEH any how.

  6. Lady Anon

    sorry…”immediatly” should read “immediately”.

  7. TechNo

    TechNo knows exactly how the ‘chain of medical command’ goes, in Barbados!

    When things get bad at your Doctor, or at Bayview, or at FMH, you are indeed sent to that ultimate medical repository on this island, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital,
    where we “have” (or had?) the latest and best technological equipment on the island
    – only to find that your heart specialist needs to use the Echocardigram machine to find out what’s going on in your chest,
    so he’d know what best course of action to take, but the news is….oooops! Echo naaaah wuk,sar!
    Yuh beak brek!

    So we trot all the emergency case off to QEH, only to find that the alleged tools in place there DO NOT WORK.
    – What then? Try the kidney dialysis machine,instead? are they working? sure?

    come back..?

  8. Sick and fed up Sylvan

    Guess that’s an example of the first class society Owing’s government is building. A society strong on propaganda but weak on performance. Guess also in this case that Owing will not move heaven and earth to get it right. Heaven and earth was moved for Kensington to support an event which has turned out to be a big flop. But then again this BLP government is impressed by monuments even though they may end up as white elephants. Investing in Bajans doesn’t get such priority because Bajans don’t matter, only their votes when elections come around. An old BLP politician once said that the worst you treat the people, the more they will respect you. Bajans have a crucial decision to make. They can choose to continue with this Owning bunch and continue to be kicked in their butts or fire the bunch and show them who is really the boss.

  9. ^^

    Sick&Fed..

    lotta that ^^ sentiment around, boy, doan worry!

  10. Rumplestilskin

    Knowledge, soory to hear about your Dad’s passing and his discomfort at the care.

    You ask ”Why does the A & E at the hospital not work. A&E is under staffed and cramped in its current location, patients are made to wait in corridors and in the asthma bay because no beds are available”

    The answer is simply that our priorities in Barbados are all … backwards.

    The QEH has been starved of resources by our pompous, money wasting politicians for years.

    We would rather build concrete (such as flyovers) that have neither revenue earning capacity nor social return/ lifestyle enhancement capacity, in the name of some vague reference to a supposed ‘firstclass society’ while our lower income earners and indeed the middle class earners scrounge, while our cost of living blows through the roof, while our healthcare and social services gradually but certainly descends into the bowels of disgrace.

    Sadly, we now do not have the comfort of a good social and healthcare system, when the rotten harvest of massive debt begins to bite.

    We will have little consolation, except for ill-advised concrete monuments to vanity and waste.

    Hard evidence above that we need people in authority who will change the direction of our society, who genuinely care for our Nation, who will be a Government of the people, for the people.

    In addition, we ourselves need to stand against such societal rot, we need to take a stand and refuse to accept such poor service, such scraps as are delivered by those who have the power and resources to deliver better, even with the resources available.

    It is a matter of choice. Life is too short to accept any less.

  11. Grace

    Are there no good stories to report from the QEH?
    Do you really think that a change of government will change the happenings at the hospital, guess we’ll soon see!!

  12. yatinkiteasy

    Its amazing to me that all the doctors and millionaire heart specialists in Barbados have not installed a first rate Heart Centre in Barbados…dozens leave here every year to go to Florida for relatively simple (yet urgent and necessary surgery)…dont they get it? the QEH will NEVER be a first class place, no matter which political party is in control…it will always be a THIRD WORLD, DIRTY, RUN DOWN, POORLY EQUIPPED place to go for Barbadians who simply can not afford to travel overseas for treatment!Why has this got to be so?If we can have a first class Airport, why cant we have a truly first class Hospital?
    The money spent to rent the Carnival Destiny for two weeks could have been invested in a Heart Treatment Centre.But who cares? Cricket is more important than health care. What a sorry state of affairs!

  13. True Native

    Don’t hold your breath, Grace.

  14. Hants

    Grace the good story is that there are a lot of good hard working Doctors and nurses at the QEH.

    Some of the Doctors are top class.

    However, some of us have lost relatives at that hospital so don’t expect us to ignore the physical condition of the Hospital and the failure of the less competent staff.

    The QEH is to be avoided if you have other options.

  15. Jerome Hinds

    Hants
    April 13th, 2007 at 11:54 pm
    Grace the good story is that there are a lot of good hard working Doctors and nurses at the QEH.

    Some of the Doctors are top class.

    However, some of us have lost relatives at that hospital so don’t expect us to ignore the physical condition of the Hospital and the failure of the less competent staff.

    The QEH is to be avoided if you have other options.
    ______________________________

    Hants,

    The way this gov’t is treating the QEH…..the only likely option is……Westbury CEMETERY…..!

  16. Grace

    There are many success stories coming out of the QEH, I have 2 friends who recently had bypass surgery…successfully – free of cost…
    People die in hospitals all over the world, talk to some health professionals in the big cities. In every profession there are those who care and do the best and those who just do it for the money.

  17. Jerome Hinds

    Grace

    April 14th, 2007 at 2:36 am

    There are many success stories coming out of the QEH, I have 2 friends who recently had bypass surgery…successfully – free of cost…
    People die in hospitals all over the world, talk to some health professionals in the big cities. In every profession there are those who care and do the best and those who just do it for the money.
    ___________________________

    Grace,

    Don’t you think that a death a the QEH like the recent ones in A & E are ONE too many….!

    Does your highlighting these DEATHS…..done because you CARE….or is it just for the MONEY…?

    Grace, a POSITIVE answer is needed…!

  18. ???????????????

    do we really have a hospital ….oops i thought it was a horsepital sry

  19. Sick and fed up Sylvan

    How come Ricardo Blackman of JER aint say nothing yet about the machine. He is very silent on this issue. Isn’t the Barbados Labour Party government paying him big bucks — $100,000 a year is the figure on the street — to tell the story of the QEH to Barbadians? But then again I guess the broken down machine is not the type of story they mean. They meant fluff and wool which create impressions that bear no relation to reality.

  20. Pingback: More Troubles At Barbados Queen Elizabeth Hospital - This Time Haematology Equipment, Next Time... Who Knows? « Barbados Free Press