Saturday 7 December, 2019

Violent Crime Takes Toll on Victoria Hospital

Violent crime is beginning to take its toll on the country’s premier health facility to the extent that Health Minister Senator Mary Isaac is now pleading with people to settle their differences in ways other than violent acts.

Isaac is pleading for more space in the operating room at the century-old Victoria Hospital (VH) just so that it will be available should it be needed for a real emergency.

“We need to get some space in our operating room because every time there is a shooting the person ends up at VH. They (surgeons) have to operate on these people in most cases and these people remain in ICU for a period of time so this is backing up our ICU and we need to be cognizant of that as a people because if one of those days we have an emergency, God forbid, there is not going to be room in our operating room at VH to handle that sort of emergency,” Isaac said.

The Minister is not alone in pleading with St. Lucians to resolve their differences in ways other than the use of a firearm of a cutlass or other sharp objects.

The police force had made such a call before because its services were also being stretched to their limits in responding to those crimes.

The authorities have reasons for their pleas as just this week the country recorded its 29th homicide for the year to date, just two short of the overall number it experienced last year, clearly an indicator that the crime situation is serious.

Adding to that are the number of wounding incidents occurring at a regular rate either through gunplay or stabbings with victims all being rushed to Victoria Hospital in the north or St. Jude Hospital in the south if the incident occurs in that location.

It is not only the ICU or the Accident and Emergency Department of VH that are under duress. Members of the hospital staff are also under pressure as several times they have had to run for cover as warring factions continue their fights at the hospital when victims are brought in. Such an incident took place earlier this year forcing Isaac to issue a statement.

“When those people have those fights, the fight does not end with one person dying or being injured. They still continue to come after each other and what you find is that we have to beef up security at VH,” Isaac said.

Get the latest local and international news straight to your mobile phone for free: