A report in today’s Express newspaper, of a power outage, due to a malfunctioning transformer at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex which required evacuation of patients to another facility, must be disturbing to patients and healthcare workers alike. The revelation by the CEO of the NCRHA to the media that the transformer involved was upgraded a mere two weeks ago is even more troubling. This incident poses serious questions about the repair and maintenance of vital infrastructure and equipment at our nation’s hospitals and health centres. It also raises the issue of whether the current NCRHA Board and CEO are competent enough to manage the affairs of those facilities under their watch.
Having to manually ventilate patients in an Intensive Care Unit and then having to transfer these patients out to another facility puts their lives at risk and causes stress for those caring for them. When renal dialysis patients have their treatment aborted or deferred, it contributes to morbidity and worsens their health. The tremendous inconvenience to staff and patients is an added factor. This type of scenario, whilst common in times of disaster and combat situations should never occur in normal situations if those in charge are doing their jobs.
It is incumbent upon the Minister of Health to launch an immediate enquiry into why power failures at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex are such a frequent occurrence and to call to account those responsible for this management failure. The role of the government is to ensure that the resources allocated to the Ministry of Health and the Regional Health Authorities redounds to the benefit of patients and their caregivers. Every effort must be made to bring an end to this crisis at the EWMSC so that patients do not have to experience these threats to their health in the very institutions mandated to treat them.