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PMH Voo Doo Spell Must be Broken

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The question is, ‘What is the point of investigating after a life is lost?’ What about prevention?



As I See It

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The question is, ‘What is the point of investigating after a life is lost?’ What about prevention?

Time and time again, when a death or obvious negligence occurs, I have witnessed health officials telling the press and ultimately the public that investigations will take place. What I have never heard is the results of those investigations. 

No recourse! No one fired! What is the purpose of the investigation?

Year after year people complain about the service at PMH- the long wait, the rude health professionals, leaving there feeling worse than they felt when they arrived. And, starting a few years ago, there are deaths due to alleged negligence being highlighted. 

I had my own bout with PMH in the late 1990s when my then fiancé, now husband, took me there three nights consecutively. I arrived there in extreme pain, was administered IV fluids and sent home each night being told I have “gas”. 

On the fourth day when I turned sunrise yellow, my mother, a nurse, took over and called Jackson Burnside, who called Dr. Charles Diggiss. I was taken to Doctors Hospital and Dr. Larry Carroll declared that I had a raging gallbladder that was oozing poisons into my system (thus the yellow complexion – Jaundice). Dr. Diggiss operated and made me well again. He saved my life. Had I continued to go to PMH …….

Babies have died at PMH, investigations launched, no results given. People are losing their lives due to alleged negligence, their families are complaining, social media is dragging PMH, when will substantial action be taken? 

All of this intrigued me and I decided to launch my own investigation seeing that everyone else is launching theirs. I contacted two sources at PMH who gave me earfulls. One, of higher rank said the Emergency Room is overrun with people who refuse to use government clinics or their private doctors for milder ailments. According to the source, these people burden the system causing longer waits for themselves and those who are very ill. 

Source number two told me the Emergency Room drama is just the tip of the iceberg. According to this source, if the government was serious it would hire a foreign investigation company to go into PMH, to include the E.R., to see “what the nurses and doctors are doing to the patients.” This startled me completely. 

“Potcake dogs are treated better than the patients here,” said source number two. “These people have no mercy and they don’t care because they are not held accountable for their actions towards helpless people who come here for services”.

Source number one explained that the transition into a new trauma area is also causing a bit of a problem for emergency/trauma services. And, that same source said doctors and nurses don’t mean to be rude, they are just frustrated at repeat patients who do not take medical advice and end up returning to receive emergency services. 

Princess Margaret Hospital

Conflicted by the opinions of my sources and remembering my own experience, I decided to go into PMH and poke around. I went, I saw, I didn’t like it. I am sure I saw a dead body on a gurney managing itself in a hallway … there were feet exposed and the head covered up. 

Moving through in “mufti”, I heard a nurse openly yelling at what appeared to be a patient advocate to stop “bothering” her because, “they just have to wait”.

I remember the look in her eyes. It was one of total disdain. While growing up, I would hear my mom constantly say, “If you don’t possess the spirit of Florence Nightingale, then you should not seek to be a nurse”. This was a prime example. 

There were way too many people everywhere and everyone seemed distraught and confused. I intentionally stopped someone dressed in scrubs, believed to be a doctor and asked for directions. The response, “I don’t know, man” and the individual kept it moving and so did I. 

Some time back, Dr. Duane Sands came under heavy fire for responding to someone who was calling for a new hospital. He asked what would be the difference of service if you bring the same people into a new building? Good question. Their attitude towards their work remains the same. 

PMH needs a virtual implosion and a restart. The government should contact Johns Hopkins Institute and restart the talks that Dr. Duane Sands and Robert Carron started years ago that clearly Dr. Hubert Minnis, then Prime Minister, didn’t find important, as it was placed before him and nothing came to fruition. The opportunity was there! Allow Johns Hopkins to build a hospital here, staff it and train Bahamians to do better. 

Now I won’t comment on the recent highly publicized death, as I see this turning into a legal matter and quickly. However, how many more similar incidents will take place before serious action is taken?

Now this is in no way to take a jab at the current Minister of Health or his team. I consider him a friend and this problem has been around long before his time. I admonish him, however, to be the one who goes down in history as fixing it, even if it means making an example out of one or two of these offenders.

Just putting it out there … It seems like law suits aren’t real in this country we call Bahamaland. Well, that’s how I see it anyway.

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