What happens when a tourist has a heart attack at a Barbados hotel?
Having a heart attack must be a frightening experience, and it is probably all the more frightening when it happens in a hotel thousands of miles from home and far from friends, family and your own doctor.
That’s what recently happened to a Canadian tourist to Barbados, who fortunately had a happy ending to a bad situation. ‘Will-Sandy’ tells of his (her?) experience in several postings on the TripAdvisor Barbados message board where others have been quick to join the discussion and recount their own medical emergency experiences in Barbados and elsewhere. Their extensive discussions make for some interesting reading by tourists and Bajans alike. It is always fascinating to see how others view Barbados. Hopefully the Barbados Tourism Authority and Misery Ministry of Health also pays attention to these discussions.
“Pirates Inn the staff was fantastic, so professional and knew what to do, when the Ambulance arrived they where also very professional and reassuring…”
Canadian tourist and heart attack victim ‘Will-Sandy’ on TripAdvisor posting Note of Caution – Barbados
Tourist heart attack victim waits 12 hours to see doctor at Queen Elizabeth Hospital
To read Will-Sandy’s account is to be at the same time proud of how the Pirate’s Inn and ambulance staff looked after a guest to our shores, but ashamed of what happened to the tourist after they arrived at our largest medical facility.
According to the heart attack victim, the Triage Nurse did not know what a stent was.
That simple fact should cause all readers to pause for a second: the Triage Nurse in our largest medical facility didn’t know what a stent was. I know what a stent is and I’m a mechanic, not a medical professional. Question: does the QEH still employ nurses from Nigeria? Just asking!
Then the heart attack victim waited 12 hours to see a doctor.
There is another statement that should make you pause – a tourist in the middle of having a heart attack had to wait 12 hours before seeing a doctor. That is disgusting, outrageous and completely unacceptable by any standard. But that is what happened to this tourist visiting Barbados, and some of the other medical emergency stories on the TripAdvisor website tell similar tales of experiences in Barbados.
The Barbados brand and tourism-based economy cannot thrive and survive when such stories become commonplace on the internet. No longer can Barbados insure our brand reputation simply by inviting a bunch of journalists for freebie trips every winter. We must walk the walk and upgrade the tourism experience because increasingly travelers are able to use the internet to discover the differences between hype and reality when they are choosing their next vacation destination.
June 11, 2010: Typical toilet, Barbados Queen Elizabeth Hospital
September 19, 2007: Your Child Is Sick: Welcome To Barbados Queen Elizabeth Hospital