Calls are again being made for the Cedros Health Centre to be made operational on a 24-hour basis after the death of a villager following a medical emergency at Icacos.
Stephen Boodoo, 70, a fisherman died after suffering a heart attack on the Icacos Beach on Monday night.
Boodoo’s relatives believe if he had access to an ambulance, paramedics and medication, he would have survived.
The fisherman of Granville Village, Cedros was shrimping on Icacos Beach around 10 pm, when he began complaining of chest pains. A call was made for an ambulance but there was none. Boodoo’s friends placed him in a private vehicle and rushed him to the Cedros Health Facility.
Councillor for Cedros Shankar Teelucksingh said there was no doctor on call. The lone nurse was unable to help as she had no equipment to resuscitate him.
“She had no access to medicine. While he was there waiting for help, they were trying to locate the District Medical Officer. By the time he came, Mr Boodoo had already passed. He died within half an hour of leaving Icacos. If he had proper medical attention when he reached the centre he could have been saved,” Teelucksingh said.
He explained that Boodoo is not the only person to have died within recent times.
On March 1, a resident, Shirley Dookran, was injured when a gate came off the track and fell on her. Her neighbour said there was no ambulance.
“She was on the ground for two hours waiting for an ambulance and eventually we put her in a private car and took her to the Point Fortin Hospital,” villager Jason Paul said.
Her nephew Ishmael Khan went to the Health Centre to beg for an ambulance but was told by a nurse that they had no authorisation to send the ambulance for her,” Paul said.
“She stayed on the ground for almost two hours before she got help,” he added.
Two weeks later Paul said his godfather, Bernard Goodrich, 70, of Fullerton Village, Cedros, collapsed at home and could not get access to an ambulance. He had to be taken in a private vehicle to the Point Fortin Hospital before he got medical treatment, Paul added.
The residents called on Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh to rebuild the nurses quarters at Bonasse Trace, institute medical services on a 24-hour basis and to have a doctor on call at the Cedros facility.
Contacted for comment Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh referred questions to the Southwest Regional Health Authority. The authority’s Albert Persaud said Boodoo was already dead by the time he reached the Cedros Health Facility and the DMO went to the San Fernando Hospital to await the arrival of the body.
Persaud said the authority was working to improving the service on a 24/7 basis with a resident doctor over the next couple of months.
One of the sticking points was getting appropriate accommodation for the medical personnel to stay in Cedros, Persaud said.
- by Radhica De Silva