Urgent Medical

Old May 20th 2012, 10:14 pm
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Default Urgent Medical

I need some upfront honest medical treatment information. My neighbor was admitted to Victoria Hospital last night and I need to know if this is our only option. Can anyone talk to me regarding urgent medical care and where we need to be. I would prefer to private message the details of the situation so if anyone can help please contact me ASAP. I visited him today and I do not feel comfortable with the situation and he is very scared as well. Apparently Tapion hospital does not treat his issue so this is why we are at Victoria.
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Old May 20th 2012, 11:11 pm
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Specifically, I want to know, if he needs to be in Martinique or Barbados should we trust that Victoria will do the right thing and send him there? Do I need to be an aggressive advocate for him to make this happen or can we trust the hospital? This is a serious injury. Victoria Hospital appears sub standard and dirty. We are very frightened. I will make phone calls starting first thing tomorrow morning. Sunday is bad day to be injured. There is no one to contact today.
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Old May 21st 2012, 3:55 pm
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Default Re: Urgent Medical

I hope you get sorted out JB, or rather your friend does
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Old May 21st 2012, 5:46 pm
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Default Re: Urgent Medical

Originally Posted by jb_has_questions View Post
Specifically, I want to know, if he needs to be in Martinique or Barbados should we trust that Victoria will do the right thing and send him there? Do I need to be an aggressive advocate for him to make this happen or can we trust the hospital? This is a serious injury. Victoria Hospital appears sub standard and dirty. We are very frightened. I will make phone calls starting first thing tomorrow morning. Sunday is bad day to be injured. There is no one to contact today.
Let's first put this question in a St Lucia perspective.

Cost is a huge issue in St Lucia.

There are many many instances in St Lucia where the required level of medical expertise plus treatment through equipment or medication is not available locally, be they relating to diabetes, heart conditions, serious burns, cancer, or even mobility in old age. As well as this, people die here because they cannot afford to embark upon a proper course of treatment and so wait too late before they see a doctor.

I personally had to have treatment for melanoma off-island and further post-operative surgery here in St Lucia in 2008 at Tapion. The quality of the local surgery was excellent though the facilities left a lot to be desired there too. Tapion is apparently working hard now to be properly accredited and maintained as such but Tapion is very expensive by St Lucian standards. In my case, a normal referral would have been to Barbados where they have a department of nuclear medicine but I went to London because I would not have been able to fend for myself in Barbados.

At the moment, even though the patient is typically poorer at Victoria, there is no formal arrangement whereby a St Lucian patient can be transferred to benefit from off-island treatment in say Martinique or Barbados because the decision-makers recognise that "things" are not up to scratch locally.

It is up to the patient to acquire the funds, typically through fund-raisers, to gain access to such treatment or even an off-island second opinion if they feel they are not getting the right "vibes" from their doctor or health centre. There have been offers from the Health Ministry to assist certain special cases but these are usually politically motivated.

Indeed, for those of us who have had the benefit of vastly superior facilities elsewhere, the general condition of Victoria Hospital is pretty deplorable but then the local powers that be knew that something needed to be done which is why St Lucia will, in the next few months, be able to show off to the rest of the Caribbean that it has a modern well-equipped medical hospital mostly provided though the generosity of the European Union. Victoria will still be used as a hospital but for maternity only.

Of note is the fact that the Golden Hope mental health facility has only been shut-down in the last couple of years - a place where the general conditions were far more deplorable than Victoria Hospital. Sadly and seriously, this is the way things tend to be in countries which are always short of funding, even though it is related to conditions which could be life-threatening.

It is also of note that many St Lucians, like others in the Caribbean, have been able to avail themselves of medical treatment elsewhere on an ongoing basis through connections they made when they were settled overseas and this may have reduced the priority a little. It is the modern(ised) health centres throughout the island that seem to deal with most of the rest of the day-to-day medical provisions for the bulk of the community.

In the interim, such emergencies are very worrying indeed.

I hope that things worked out in your further efforts at getting some satisfaction today!

Last edited by Pistolpete2; May 21st 2012 at 5:52 pm.
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Old May 22nd 2012, 2:43 am
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Default Re: Urgent Medical

I wanted to provide a brief update on my neighbor. He seems to be doing well and to date appears to recovering. We spent a lot of time today looking for the answers to the questions we had. We were reassured that if indeed his case was deemed critical they would have indeed sent him to Martinique for treatment, but as it turns out he never took any turns for the worse and should be alright. Thank you Peter for you accurate insights and Mitzy for concerns.
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