Cedros residents plead for 24-hour health centre

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