NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The family of a 58-year-old man who was allegedly turned away from Princess Margaret Hospital while suffering from a stroke, are expressing anger and disappointment in the healthcare system.
Dion Barr, a father of five, died two days after he was allegedly denied access to the hospital and told to seek care at a clinic.
His brother, Keith Barr, believes the 58-year-old may have still been alive today if he was seen immediately by doctors during their first attempt to seek emergency care.
Barr said he was advised of his brother’s condition during midday Tuesday and rushed to his side to find that he could not move or talk.
He told Eyewitness News Dion was taken to the hospital in a private vehicle after emergency operators said there were no ambulances available.
Barr said when they arrived at PMH some 30 minutes later, they were told by security guards that he would not be admitted and he was better off going to a clinic.
He said he pleaded with the guards to get his brother some help because his pressure was high and he “looked like he was ready to die on me”.
However, Barr said he was told repeatedly that his brother was not going to get served at the hospital.
“It will take longer to get served here,” he said the officers told him.
Barr said it took another 30 minutes in traffic for him to get his brother to the Anne’s Town Clinic, only to be told that healthcare professionals could not see him.
He said he was told by a nurse that he should not have brought him to the facility and that he needed to take him back to the hospital because there was no doctor was at the clinic.
“It’s like they didn’t want to take him,” Barr said.
“…I telling them y’all please save my brother, please help my brother.”
After begging the workers at the clinic to take a look at his brother, Barr said a nurse finally decided to bring a machine outside to check his blood pressure and blood sugar and found that both had skyrocketed to dangerous levels.
It was then that the workers at the clinic called an ambulance to take the 58-year-old man back to the hospital.
“All this time we were calling the ambulance, no ambulance available,” Barr said.
“So if no ambulance available they just want us to leave our family members on the side of the road half dead instead of bringing them to the hospital.”
The ambulance took 20 minutes to get to the clinic and another 15 minutes to get to the hospital, he said.
“All of that time, I could see my brother was already damaged,” Barr said.
“I could see how he was vomiting all of these blood clots.”
Barr said he took the ride in the ambulance back to the hospital and was advised by EMT personnel that there were no beds in the ICU, but they could “see what they could do to help Dion”.
“I don’t know where they put him, I don’t know what else happened after that,” he said.
After his brother was admitted to the hospital on Tuesday, Barr said it was the last time anyone spoke to him before he died.
Barr said that he went back to the security officers who initially turned him away to confront them about rejecting his brother from the hospital.
Those officers reportedly told him that many other people seeking care have had to be turned around and rejected from the facility.
He said the only way he believes anyone can get emergency help is if they enter the facility in an ambulance.
“If you come in a private car, you are not getting served in that hospital”, he said.
“You need to come with an ambulance and the ambulance don’t be available.
“They want you to stay home and die.”
Barr noted that since the death of his brother, family members are sad and angry over the way he was treated.
“Everyone has this anger in their hearts, including me,” he said.
“We have this anger in our hearts. Why they just couldn’t help him? Why they had to have us running up and down all over the place; running up and down for an hour and a half just to get him to the doctor.”
Barr added that he believes the current coronavirus situation in The Bahamas has impacted people being able to receive regular care, even if it is not COVID-related.
“That’s the whole problem, ain’t everything is COVID.”
While the Public Hospitals Authority was reached for a response, no comment was provided up to press time.