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PMH: Scalpel Nip and Tuck

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – It seems like health professionals with the best intentions, go into PMH to work and end up “contaminated” by those they meet there. 



As I See It

NASSAU, THE BAHAMAS – After numerous calls, texts and new  information given, I decided to take another stab at the state of the Princess Margaret Hospital. There’s no voodoo spell on the place, but instead just slackness, an “I don’t care” attitude and in some cases sheer, unadulterated negligence due to all of the above. 

It seems like health professionals with the best intentions, go into PMH to work and end up “contaminated” by those they meet there. 

I decided to question some employees of PMH to find out why would people with jobs that others depend on to keep them alive act so poorly? I seemed to have poked a wasp nest in my inquiry. 

Morale is down because of the horrible working conditions and the large number of foreigners working at PMH. The aforementioned, I was told, is responsible for the poor attitude of Bahamian staff. 

I was also told that the managers at PMH are “slack” and afraid to demand that staff members do their work.  And, there are also a whole lot of “political appointees” in the place who instruct managers on what they are not prepared to do in carrying out their duties. Amazing! 

My thoughts are that maybe the offenders are tolerated because of the worldwide shortage of health professionals, in particular nurses. If this is the case then it’s like holding the health system hostage by saying, “I can do whatever I want because they cannot fire me.” 

Poor attitude from staff is one thing, but what about the running of the hospital, working equipment, air conditioning systems, clean areas, functioning surgical suites, proper beds, food, etcetera? 

Princess Margaret Hospital entrance
Princess Margaret Hospital entrance.

It’s no secret that PMH is in bad condition. I asked an employee about the state of the hospital. The following is the response:

“The U.W.I. (University of the West Indies trained doctors) boys who control medicine in this town keep the hospital the way it is so they can make money. There is no way on God’s earth that interns should be working front line and unsupervised. That is the main problem right there and then the doctors who are supposed to be supervising them and teaching them, they are not around, so the interns are running the place.

Is this a case of the ‘lunatics running the asylum’? An immediate investigation needs to take place into this. 

“It’s a direct action of the doctors to keep the hospital the way it is so they can make money,” said the PMH employee, continuing. “People get frustrated with PMH so what do they do? They go to private physicians. That is the intention with PMH. Physicians Alliance …. I’m not even going to touch on that.”

Are the “UWI boys” one in the same with Physicians Alliance?

Many health professionals who are sympathetic towards the overcrowded and somewhat chaotic state of PMH say a new hospital is needed and urgently. Some even went further to say the capital can use THREE new hospitals – A general hospital which includes a trauma and surgical center;  a woman’s hospital and a children’s hospital. 

PMH emergency
Emergency entrance at Princess Margaret Hospital.

The public healthcare system is a problem that rests on the shoulders of many. Doing some more research I was informed by someone in authority that there is no malpractice insurance at public facilities here in this country, so you pretty much enter at your own risk. So, if something happens to you at one of those health facilities worthy of a lawsuit, it can only be a civil suit against the government and the medical records possibly will never reflect what truly happened.

Details of my findings have it that PMH is sued all the time and the government pays out monies, but the cases are not publicized. The only way that the system will improve in any meaningful way is through greater transparency. The public needs to know the outcomes of so-called internal investigations.

Bahamians do not take their health in hand to see how they can improve by eating right and exercising. That is why we have high rates of diabetes, prostate, colon and breast cancer. 

This is a lot to take in and a burden on the hearts of those who can’t afford to go to Doctor’s Hospital or hop a flight to the Mayo Clinic. I think the solution is to eat healthy, exercise and have regular check ups. Well that’s how I see it, anyway. 

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