First Swine Flu – H1N1 Death in Barbados – Patients report no masks, no hand gel at Warrens Polyclinic!

Barbados Swine Flu Death

Barbados Swine Flu Death “an adult and had underlying medical conditions”

Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr. Joy St. John informed the media Wednesday night that Barbados has had 96 cases of H1N1 and unfortunately, its first H1N1 flu death.

Dr. St. John said she “deeply regretted the passing of the person” and offered her condolences to friends and family. She urged the public to take the necessary precautionary measures and follow the guidelines put out by the Ministry of Health, so as to minimise the risk of contracting the H1N1 virus.

Joy St John Barbados

“We must continue to practise good hygiene if we are going to overcome this H1N1 outbreak. This death also shows that those predisposed groups must be extremely careful,”

…Barbados Chief Medical Officer: Dr. Joy St. John in Press Release – First H1N1 Death in Barbados

Dr. St. John was quick to point out that the 96 recorded cases “does not accurately reflect the current incidence of the disease here, since we have not been swabbing everybody who has exhibited flu-like symptoms in wake of the fact that there is in-country transmission.”

Trouble Reported at Warrens Polyclinic – No hand gel, limited mask use

Two hours before the press release by Dr. St. John, Barbados Free Press received the following from a reader, which we have edited to preserve their anonymity…

This is what happened when I went to be tested for suspected H1N1 virus.

When you go in at the Warrens Polyclinic it has a sign that says “ask for a mask here” so I knocked and knocked and no one came.  There’s a big poster from the MOH asking you to identify yourself as a “flu patient”, to be segregated I suppose, although there was absolutely no urgency for those showing up with flu symptoms, no trying to segregate them immediately.   I wasn’t given a mask (and no one else was either) until at least one hour after I arrived and then about 6 masks were given out to us, and I was told to sit next to children arriving for immunizations, etc.  I had enough common sense to try to keep away from the young ones.

Finally, after 1 hour I went into the holding pen for the H1N1 swabbies like me and everyone had their masks around their necks.  People walked in & out of the room without masks or a care in the world.  Hello, there’s no pandemic here is there? The only serious one there was the lone doctor in his mask and paper suit that stuck his neck out once to look at us all and pop back in.  There was a large poster depicting hand washing, but absolutely no hand sanitizer equipment or facilities of any kind were there.  I didn’t see anyone super ill, but how hard is it for a young girl with her 2 kids there, waiting for “hours!” as she said to me.  I can’t believe how inefficient it all was.

So I waited for 2 hours at the Warrens Polyclinic waiting to get tested for H1N1 as that is where FMH said to go, as they are not allowed to test anymore for it.   After two hours of waiting I just upped and left, as it was like being in Nairobi and I couldn’t take it anymore as I hadn’t been seen to by anyone but a receptionist who had made me wait over an hour to ask me what my business was, taking anyone who came in after me before me.  I couldn’t believe my eyes.

Whilst waiting to go in to speak to the nurse before the swab, I had to witness men going into the “Mens Toil” (the latter letters having disappeared) and not shutting the door behind them as they pissed.  And with nowhere to wash their hands, I was ready to hurl.  The hygiene, or lack therefore, that I noticed was incredible.  I got a friend of mine to pick me up, she nearly died when she saw me wearing the full mask on my face when I came out of the clinic.  I’m not one to slam this country, but God, is some of these government services a mess.


Filed under Barbados, Health

18 responses to “First Swine Flu – H1N1 Death in Barbados – Patients report no masks, no hand gel at Warrens Polyclinic!

  1. reality check

    Even though H1N1 has proved to be fairly mild so far, one death is too many and the country can never be too vigilant or disciplined to try and contain it and minimize its effects. Condolences to those who lost a loved one to this flu.

    In the meantime, the real swine, are chowing down on the taxpayers dollars with little or no accountability.

    This is far more deadly in the long term to the future of Barbados and Barbadians than H1N1.

    What kind of a legacy has the Clico debacle left the citizens of Barbados.

    We will never know because its none of your business.

  2. Pride en Industry

    Do we take anything seriously? LOL!

  3. Hants

    This news was on cp24 Toronto from 7 oclock last night and repeated every 10 minutes+-.

    Let us pray there are no more deaths from this flu.

    It would likely reduce the number of Tourists and overseas Bajans travelling to Barbados.

    For those of you who need a reality check, this flu is dangerous and the virus survives for 15 minutes on hard surfaces.
    Your choices are straight forward.

    Wash your hands often. Buy a bottle of hand sanitizer and use it.
    Monitor your children and make them wash their hands.
    If you feel sick go to a doctor or clinic even if you have to wait long.

    You can also do none of the above and focus on “Clico”. It may be worth the risk to you.

    Doze uh wunna who cuh onstan me, doan mek nuh sport wid this flu. Dis serious.

  4. Pingback: Global Voices Online » Barbados: First H1N1 Death

  5. Amazed

    how many deaths have there been in Canada/UK/US? has it stopped people going there?

    I’m more worried at the lack of hygiene in the clinics here, the experience of the person described by BFP is appalling & very 3rd world, I would think that is more liable to put visitors off, knowing they wouldn’t receive proper treatment here!!

  6. doctor in the house ?

    question : can H1N1 be transferred from our new state of art fingerprinting machine at the airport

  7. J

    I am not sure why the men were not washing their hands, but the last time I went to the Warrens polyclinic there was soap and water in the washrooms.

    But some fellas seem to think that their thing is so precious it (and their hands) can’t possibly carry germs.

    Hey fellas.

    Wash up PLEASE when you are done.

  8. 2009

    Owen Arthur…..brought the Swine Flu epidemic to Barbados…!

    I just finished a meeting with one of Owen’s former Permanent Secretaries…..who reported that Owen often cursed and behaved like a HOG towards his staff !!

    Oink..Oink…Oink !

  9. Rumplestilskin

    So FMH, one of the only two efficient emergency clinics operations here, is no longer allowed to test for swine flu, according to the article?

    Why, because they are too efficient?

    I personally, thus far, can vouch for FMH! Thanks to those guys for what they have done so far!

    Pity they had to close at nights due to security concerns (pardon me if it was not, I think that was the reason given a few years back).

    Pity the Government then did not have the foresight to increase Police patrols in the area, to help an operation that took a load off the QEH Emergency dept.


  10. Illuminator

    Swine Flu….stupseeeeeeeeee , u mean Gold Mine Flu , fa de drug cumpnies . De normal Flu is kill more people and I don’t hear na warning bout that , or T.B or Hepatitus B .All of a sudden ‘Swine ‘ Flu come out a nowhere and seem to only be capable of killing people with underlying or pre-existing medical conditions.

    Don’t get me wrong , I fully advocate the practices of good hygiene encouraged but come on now. They making ‘vaccinations’ by the billions now for which the drug companies will be immune from any suits or claims brought against them by persons experiencing adverse effects through their use. Isn’t that interesting.

    I encourage everyone to do some research before they get sucked into this A-H1N1 vortex and be foolhardy enough as to consider taking the ‘money’ shot or ‘vaccination’.

    Check out the below articles:

  11. Rumplestilskin


    The immunity from lawsuits is both irresponsible and scary.

    Why would anyone do that? But bear in mind that protection of the drug companies and by extension the stock markets, may also be at the centre of that reason.


  12. WildyCoyte

    My advice to the sheeple is take the vaccination if you and your loved ones are tired of living,for those with a little common sense,just practice good hygiene and don’t let any one force any vaccinations on you.

  13. Lady Anon

    We have become a nation were some of the people lack personal responsibility. Warrens Polyclinic has no sanitiser? Walk with your own. A small bottle of sanitiser costs less than $10. So, don’t buy a top up card and buy a bottle of sanitiser.

  14. Bradley432

    I would tend to agree with you. In the last two months I’ve visited a number of Eastern and Western European countries, and nowhere have I seen the hype concerning the H1N1 as back here in Barbados. I visited many many public places, and I cannot recall seeing a single sanitizer,of course I had my own as always.
    I wonder how many of us were old enough to have experienced the H2N2 or Asian Flu, back in ’57.If we compare the two over a similar period , from the time its hit our shores, in my opinion the H2N2 was more devastating, given the fact that today there is considerably more traffic between Barbados and the outside world.
    The are lots of Maddoffs and Stanfords in the medical and pharmaceutical fields.

  15. Keep foolin yo'self!

    Doan buy my Top-Up card? WHUH?
    – and buy whuh, instead?

    De Government is to do dah, fuh we
    an’ if I dead becoz o’ my weird priorities, dah fuh lick me!

    You better get you head straight yuh.
    En’t nothing more important to me than my $700 cellphone, and my need to lick out half of my salary in talk time.
    try en onstan DAT,yuh!

  16. Avatar Gurl

    LOL @ Keep Foolin’ Yoself!

    You paid $700 for your phone? HA! Love your sarcasm!

    All I paid was $300 for my retail $900 phone…and I STILL had money to get the hand sanitizer TOO! I was smart & sold items that I no longer needed!

    I love your humour, sweetie…but one can be smart and get everything they want AND need!


    Owen Arthur is the best Prime Minister Barbados has ever seen. Only Errol Barrow could have been better than Owen. There is no Prime Minister of Barbados who never cuss somebody. According to many reports Errol insulted many of his own party members who were also members of parliament . Ask somebody who knows, how Errol described Leroy Brathwaite. Errol Barrow was not easy. Who you want to be Prime Minister of Barbados ??-a LAMB.

    I hate to hear people talking about Owen cussing people.

    So what ?

    As for them Permanent secretaries, they not only want cussing but they want firing and their posts abolished. Permanent Secretaries in Barbados have ignorant oldtime archaic Victorian attitudes They feel that they are Lords and that nobody can touch them. They are just holding up reform in the Public Service. Ask why PRDS aint come on stream yet.

    Under my system of Government Permanent Secretaries would be history.–useless bunch of jokers and progress holder backers -old Fogeys

  18. Mathilde

    and that folks, is why I take my child to a private doctor, thank the Lord I can afford it. My empathy for those who can’t.