NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The Public Hospitals Authority (PHA) has issued a community announcement requesting relatives of discharges patients to urgently contact the Princess Margaret Hospital.
The announcement lists 30 discharged patients currently staying at the hospital, who’s prolonged stay has compunded the facility’s bed shortage.
The list does not included the names of the children who are also boarders at the hospital.
Last week, Health Minister Dr Duane Sands announced that elective surgeries were suspended due to overcrowding and a bed shortage.
Yesterday, he said: “It is unprecedented, but I think we have an unprecedented challenge.
“Understand the best that are blocked by borders are unavailable for people with legitimate health problems.
Sands continued: “So when you bring your mother or your father to the hospital, and they are ill and need to be admitted and the bed is occupied by somebody that’s been there for six months, that’s been there for nine months, that probably not fair – and I’m trying to be.”
Sands said the notice is just the first step in the PHA’s plan to address the issue.
“We need to have a conversation with family members to find out if there’s a challenged, perhaps we can give you assistance, maybe we can get Social Services to help you,” he said.
“Tell us what the issue is as opposed to simply not coming to collect your love one.”
Many of the borders on the list have been at the hospital for many months and some for years, according to the minister.
Asked what is the alternative if those families don’t come forward to claim their loved-ones, Sands said: “I think we have decided that we now need to look at moving people into nursing homes.
“And we have to look at legal options in terms of garnishing benefits that people may have to pay for the cost of nursing home care.
“We are in uncharted water, but it is important for us to take on this very difficult problem that inconveniences the general public.”
Sands said while elective surgery at PMH has resumed, the matter is still “a real problem”.
“As of this morning we had some 16 people awaiting admission,” said Sands.
“That’s down from 49, that’s manageable and until we get additional bed space and so on and so forth, then there will always be a challenge with the demand for beds at the nations primary acute hospital.”
In the aftermath of the deadly Hurricane Dorian, the preexisting situation with respect to critical bed shortages and the need to expand clinical spaces has been exacerbated.
The Ministry of Health underscored PMH has long outgrown its clinical spaces in its appeal to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) pledge conference for a new hospital for New Providence.
“Inpatient wards are over-crowded, particularly maternity, male surgical and children’s wards; shortages in critical services areas (i.e. Dialysis, ICU); and notable challenges within the Emergency Department include further overcrowding with accompanying long wait times, constrained workspaces, and poor patient/work flows,” the notice read.
Discharged patients named on the list include: Albert Miller, Georgina Pennerman, Ann Edith Andrews, Trevor Farrington, Carla Clarke, Clifford Sands, Sunny Noel, David Davis, Carlos Ostral, Anthony Pinder, Jeremiah Saunders, William Smith, Cynthia King, Johnny Pierre, Bridgette Hart, Renata Seiweke, Miriam Finlayson, Edward Petit, Hubert Rolle, Luis Isaacs, Richard Pinder, Catherine Hanna, Jason Miller, Lenora Williams, Ervin Rolle, Ramon Lop, Terrell Taylor, Mario Bootle, Morris Bowe, and Javaughn John.