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Questions over care at QEH

Ricky Jordan

Questions over care at QEH

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Can the Queen Elizabeth Hospital assure Barbadians that no patients have died or were infected by a bacteria recently found in water in its dialysis unit recently; and is Barbados’ infant and maternal mortality rate worse than a decade ago?
These are among questions now being asked by the Opposition Barbados Labour Party as it cried out against the operations of the Government-owned Queen Elizabeth Hospital and local health care in general yesterday.
At a press conference at the Opposition’s office in Parliament’s West Wing yesterday, Senator Dr Jerome Walcott, a surgeon by profession and former minister of health, called on management of the QEH to say whether any dialysis patients had died or were infected by the pseudomonas bacteria recently found in water in the dialysis unit; whether the infant and maternal mortality rate was worse than between five and 15 years ago; why no statistics were released at last week’s perinatal review conference; and whether there was a drug shortage because of money owed to suppliers.
Walcott, supported by Opposition Member of Parliament Cynthia Forde, stressed they were not “crying down the Government” but were extremely concerned about the declining care of the sick Barbadians and long-resident non-nationals.
“Can the hospital management assure the public that not a single dialysis patient has died as a result of pseudomonas . . . can they assure the public that there was not a breakdown in the protocol for testing of the water . . . if not, why is so much attention now being paid to that protocol?” asked Walcott.
Noting the Opposition’s concern for the dialysis unit, obstetrics theatres, sterilisation department, Lions Eye Care Centre (LEEC), cardiac suite, accident and emergency (A&E), as well as perinatal matters and drug shortages, he said patients were dying or “surviving by luck” following equipment breakdowns, insufficient funding and an absence of necessary drugs and supplies at the QEH.