St Michael West Central Constituency Report {Pt 2} – Donville Inniss: What QEH is he talking about?

Donville Inniss is one of the few Ministers of Barbados’ Cabinet handling the portfolio of Health in its history who does NOT have a medical background and yet is in charge of that key station in Barbados’ administrative infrastructure. It is a large bailiwick to oversee – there’s Drug Service, Polyclinics, Public Health Officers plus myriad more functions and departments & this does not even consider where Health can verge or bisect with Environment or Agriculture…

Welcome to Accident & Emergency, here's a Dr's faucet leaking away - God only knows how much water is wasted on a monthly basis, what could those fees be doing to improve Barbados eh?

Welcome to Accident & Emergency, here's a Dr's faucet leaking away - God only knows how much water is wasted on a monthly basis, what could those fees be doing to improve Barbados, eh? CLICK ON IMAGE FOR LARGER PHOTO

It is a massive Ministry which is why also-ran for St Andrew, Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner, was appointed to oversee the Queen Elizabeth Hospital apart from its CEO Dr James of Trinidad & Tobago and its board. (What have they done, anyway?) Yet, the other night when Minister Inniss spoke of the QEH, I almost swore he had a new career – one of composing science fiction or fantasy.

The QEH he described at Ellerslie Secondary for St Michael West Central did not match the reality or nightmare I was forced to endure for over a fortnight.

I can only thank God I needed to just poass water, I don't know what I'd do if I had to stool - this is the Guest toilet in A&E, do you see the yello discoloured band on the inside rim of the seat? CLICK ON IMAGE FOR LARGER PHOTO

I can only thank God I needed to just pass water, I don't know what I'd do if I had to stool - this is the Guest toilet in A&E, do you see the yellow discoloured band on the inside rim of the seat? CLICK ON IMAGE FOR LARGER PHOTO

I recall when Barbados Free Press had a story about a mother who looked after her ill son at QEH, and I wondered despite the pictures if the story was true? Unfortunately, the answer is a resounding YES! This is another tale of mother and son, but the other way around – my Mom is diabetic and it was up to me to see she survived the QEH, because some of what they advised made sense and other times was so draconian as to be Kafka-esque, which is what led to my mother discharging herself a second time in the space of 16 days (Some were spent home, but the majority at Martindale’s Rd).

Dante Alighieri once wrote about leaving behind hope when you enter certain places, one can only wonder if he Time Travelled to Barbados' QEH?

Dante Alighieri once wrote about leaving behind hope when you enter certain places, one can only wonder if he Time Travelled to Barbados' QEH and decided he found it?

Throughout this article are the pictures to verify my tale of medicine as seemingly practised (sic) by Freddie Kruger… I read in the BFP item where the mother had to bring Intra-Site gel for her boy and hoard it so it would not get stolen, and would you believe the Inco-Pads which I brought for my Mom to use had disappeared when she was ready to leave? No wonder people try to avoid there, a business colleague told me, “I just learned of a guy who died {DATE REMOVED} after going in to have {GALL BLADDER SURGERY}! He got an infection and his organs failed…”  Their resigned reaction is they expect no inquiry especially since the ex-patient was deemed an ‘ordinary Joe‘ – sigh!

The day my Mom discharged herself the 2nd time, a toilet overflowed in her ward, visits were delayed by 45 minutes - nice spill from a great source huh? Plus: Who designed the QEH to have so many holes in the wall? What happens in severe weather? What were they thinking in 1961? CLICK ON IMAGE FOR LARGER PHOTO

The day my Mom discharged herself the 2nd time, a toilet overflowed in her ward (look at the sheen of the overhead light which shows the puddle), therefore visits were delayed by 45 minutes - nice spill from a great source huh? Plus: Who designed the QEH to have so many holes in the wall? What happens in severe weather? What were they thinking in 1961? CLICK ON IMAGE FOR LARGER PHOTO

Before I go any further, let’s allow Minister Inniss to give a statement, this is apart from relating how two new ambulances are coming – but at no time does he state if spare parts for old or new ambulances are forthcoming! Is that not essential for proper maintenance of these vehicles? I may be no mechanic, but even as a layman to this aspect, it would seem common sense that if you are ordering or being given two vehicles then you need to have essential backups, for when and not if, wear and tear rears its eventual head. Mr Minister, what else did you have to say?

Ain’t that great? Staff have a place to eat… So why on two occasions did my mother receive poultry, when she does not like to eat chicken? She and I specified she does NOT want that type of meat nor does she enjoy rice… I had to bring packets of oats and some yogurt tubs for her to have something for the Insulin to work on. If she did not want take a morning dose of 32 units as her blood sugar was between 2 or 3, the nurses would complain to the doctor who only then appears at my mother’s bed to admonish her that if she cannot abide by orders then she should GO, as she is “…wasting valuable bed space.”

This is the cistern of the Guest toilet at QEH's A&E - an old-fashioned chain puller, except the chain is missing. Perhaps yanked in rage by a frustrated visitor? CLICK ON IMAGE FOR LARGER PHOTO

This is the cistern of the Guest toilet at QEH's A&E - an old-fashioned chain puller, except the chain is missing. Perhaps yanked in rage by a frustrated visitor? CLICK ON IMAGE FOR LARGER PHOTO

Doctor’s words according to Mom, not her own – sounds like Scrooge before his transformation. What happened to patient’s rights? My mother can be contumacious, but I mean – OMG, her blood sugar is under 5 and you expect her to take Insulin just so, without eating? Because this was before breakfast! Ever hear of hypoglycaemic shock or even worse, diabetic coma?

If I recall correctly, near the night exit which is by the staff car park (Oh yes, you know how many times I had to park in the pasture next to the Martindale’s Road facility? With mud? Driving the car at an inch per hour, since if I move too quickly I may snap my chassis on the bumpy ground like high seas! Why, Mr Minister, did you not spend money for proper parking so friends and family can see their loved patients what’s not cut off with relative ease?) there is a sign with a list of Patient’s Rights, you better photo that before it’s removed but everywhere else in the world there are Patient’s Rights!

You mean elevators are decommissioned the same way when under Owen? Just board them up? Has nothing new been tried? CLICK ON IMAGE FOR LARGER PHOTO

You mean elevators are decommissioned the same way when under Owen? Just board them up? Has nothing new been tried? CLICK ON IMAGE FOR LARGER PHOTO

I suppose it was strange coincidence and not punishment after the fact for that incident (among others), when after my mother was bathed she then found out the hard way the nurses had not washed out her privates correctly and soap was left there which BURNED like fire on an oil-spill! They then took their sweet time in getting her water to rinse out the residue…

Speaking of heat, let’s go back to the video above, where Inniss mentions $125-thousand dollars was spent on new boilers… According to him, there were two old boilers being totally inert from 2004… So this means, A) why not activate the boilers already there? And then, B) If they were not used for the last five years, then, while they were bought under the BLP, it also means they were still unused during the DLP’s term! Is that then not a WASTE of $125-thousand just to get a round of applause, Mr Minister?

Back in 2007, the BFP spoke of filth on the grounds outside the stairwell - what exactly is different in 2010? CLICK ON IMAGE FOR LARGER PHOTO

Back in 2007, the BFP spoke of filth on the grounds outside the stairwell - what exactly is different in 2010 of the same area? CLICK ON IMAGE FOR LARGER PHOTO

He says how more Dr’s and Nurses have been added to the Accident & Emergency, so when my Mom originally arrived on Whit Monday, why did she spend the night in A & E? Why did they not assign a ward to her immediately so she wouldn’t panic further and seek to discharge herself the first time? Maybe valuable bed space was taken by more cooperative guinea pigs patients?

But in the interests of being fair, let’s hear and see some more from this Harrisonian who appears to have let down Crumpton Street, he is claiming that senior citizens are to be valued?

IMHO? The orderlies are the most helpful, well informed and mannerly at the Queen Elizabeth Hostile, I mean, hospital! Many doctors appear, from the way they behave, as if they believe they are God’s brothers and sisters or Jesus’ cousins, yet if they were – would they not have more humility? What became of the Hippocratic oath? Did it fall in the Incinerator? Most nurses seem to feel they are the hostile Hospital’s Gestapo unofficial security…

God help you if you wanted to pee or something at QEH late May - you'd have to go outside the Facility step in these non-air conditioned beauties and then let fly! The problem has been temporarily solved, but how long before the toilets for visitors go again? CLICK ON IMAGE FOR LARGER PHOTO

God help you if you wanted to pee or something at QEH late May - you'd have to go outside the Facility step in these non-air conditioned beauties and then let fly! The problem has been temporarily solved, but how long before the toilets for visitors go again? CLICK ON IMAGE FOR LARGER PHOTO

I think Dale Carnegie or lessons in Diplomacy may be too far gone for those who really need it there – this view is not just me or my mother, two of her closest pals went to spend time with her and one of them e-mailed me “…{Bajan Reporter’s note: Maryam – not real name nor even correct sex} and I had a little run-in with one of the cleaners that showed up the insensitivity of the place. The nurses weren’t much more use; just as cold in their own indifferent way. At least on that ward.”

This was the same day I arrived at 12:Noon to exchange Mom’s dirty frocks for clean ones, there was no guest seating next to her and I needed a chair to rest the bag to do the switch. So I asked a nice young nurse and she readily complied with the furniture (It seems odd but they younger they are, the more likely they are nice but the older they are then more likely they will be hard-nosed and offhanded, you’d’ve thought the more time they knew the place the better they’d try), then a skinny older nurse asked her what is she doing, and she explained so Skinny Matron refuses me and barks that I can’t have that…

I can understand if there are any folk who may feel the QEH is akin to a wolf in sheep's clothing, if you go by this idyllic tropical exterior, then one would be incredulous of so many horror tales from the inside... CLICK ON IMAGE FOR LARGER PHOTO

I can understand if there are any folk who may feel the QEH is akin to a wolf in sheep's clothing, if you go by this idyllic tropical exterior, then one would be incredulous of so many horror tales from the inside... CLICK ON IMAGE FOR LARGER PHOTO

Why?” I asked very quietly, for my part, it seemed a natural response… “FINE,” she squawked, “DO AS YOU LIKE – I REALLY DON’T CARE!” Concerned with the complications of Mom’s diabetes as it concerned her heart, and also feeling the Grim Reaper was not so far away from her and feeling very put upon more than Atlas – I snapped!

I told the b*tch of a so-called healthcare Professional that “...if I wanted to speak with a pig then I’d go to Southern Meats abattoir in St Philip;” I also roared that my mother better receive nothing but the best in care or else if anything suspicious happened ‘I’d lay a lawsuit in their crutch they wouldn’t believe!‘ My exact words, I’m afraid, at least I did not call her a b*tch to her face but I’m sure if she was like Sookie Stackhouse and could read my thoughts she’d probably be a pile of ash right then and there!

In referring back to the second video, Inniss says he will be looking at substance abuse yet he does not want to consider breathalysers? He says NGO’s must show what they’re doing to earn Government subventions yet he does not call them to account when their personal behaviour could endanger their professional stance?

When you take the words from Donville Inniss and juxtapose them with my current pictures of the QEH, and you take into account they have had almost THREE YEARS to start to truly right wrongs in not just the QEH, but Agriculture, Graeme Hall and so many areas – what have they been doing? Extended vacation? Talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, and then more, yup – you guessed it… Talk. If this DLP Government were one of those toys with a vocal pull string, which was the IN thing of the 70’s for kids in the USA, then their chat-cord would be worn extremely thin!

FILE PHOTO - Is this acknowledging the passing of the baton? David Gill chats with Rawdon Adams earlier this year. Bajans have more than had enough of Tweedledumb and Tweedledumber - what is needed is not new wine in old skin or old wine in new skin but a different beverage altogether, since Rawdon says he is not interested in running, then what about Mia? We cannot keep repeating the same rut and expecting something different, that way lies madness!

FILE PHOTO - Is this acknowledging the passing of the baton? David Gill chats with Rawdon Adams earlier this year. Bajans have more than had enough of Tweedledumb and Tweedledumber - what is needed is not new wine in old skin or old wine in new skin but a different beverage altogether, since Rawdon says he is not interested in running, then what about Mia? We cannot keep repeating the same rut and expecting something different, that way lies madness!

Owen S. Arthur also let the QEH diminish in his time too (I say let him go along to Antigua for his consultancy and don’t waste his time meddling in things here again), it makes you wonder what would happen if either Rawdon Adams or Mia Mottley held the reins of the Barbados Labour Party? Would some kind of progress truly exist after all these decades? Since PEP and NDP are almost memories now, we have to work with what’s available at the moment, and make them ALL be held to account – no more letting it slide…

9 Responses

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  1. Ian, my only experience at the QEH was in March for the birth of my son. I have to say that the staff were really nice despite the physical surroundings lacking in so many ways. But the real outrage, and to add to your discussion on food, one morning my wife was served Rice Krispies for breakfast full of weavels. Can you imagine? This for a woman who just went through childbirth and is supposed to be eating well to support breast milk production.

    It’s a great disappointment when you have these experiences and are reminded that much of our local public infrastructure remains very third-world.

  2. Informative article showing inconsistencies. Looking forward to more analysis from you, but be careful, these guys are nasty when them feel they crosssed.

  3. I was lookin up medicine when I came across this in a google search. I agree with you post completely. Couldn’t say it better myself – you may live in the Caribbean, but it is the 21st Century, OMG!

  4. You’re writing very detailed, from experience? Brave of you. Couldn’t be written any better. Reading this post reminds me of my old room mate! He always kept being blunt, even to the point where folk would come to blows. I am sending this article to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thanks for the candor!

  5. Sorry… but I think you’re out of line. I am convinced Donville is doing his very best. You are ungrateful. I’ll be watching out for more nonsense here.

  6. As my son spent a long time in paedeatrics on Thursday, I have to concur that the nurses and doctors were in the main fabulous, but the fabric and facilities are beyond belief, with the toilets and common areas in particular being astonishingly dirty. Birds and insects on the children’s ward in stifling heat. The administration and organisation was archaic, like something from communist Russia. I can only congratulate the professionals who have to work in those conditions and pity the patients and their families. As a tourist, and a someone who loves the island, I am ashamed to say that I was glad to get my son on the plane to better medical facilities. Barbadians deserve better.

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