- Blood bank out of blood
Barrington Flemming – Staff Reporter
The security forces are keeping a close watch on the Savanna-la-Mar General Hospital in Westmoreland, which continues to receive many patients as a result of gang violence, in a continuous bid to stave off invasion from gangsters who are intent on getting to the victims.
Dr. Alfred Dawes, Senior Medical Officer of Health for the parish in an interview with the Western Mirror indicated that they still receive many patients as a result of gang violence, some of whom have to be transferred to other health facilities outside the parish under heavy police guard after receiving emergency treatment.
“The latest incident we had was on Wednesday where we had to have a heavy police contingent transfer a patient out of parish after being operated on. We have taken steps to have the hospital on lock down with enhanced security measures, especially when a patient is brought in for whom we suspect there may be a retaliatory shooting or invasion of the hospital,” explained Dr. Dawes
He says while some may not be as a result of gang violence, they have still requested the presence of the police on occasions and they have been conducting patrols.
“We would love for the security forces to remain here as long as possible, the staff is very concerned that things would go back to the terrible norm, that is the violence that pervades,” Dr. Dawes said.
BLOOD BANK EMPTY
In the meantime, Dr. Dawes says the hospital is now operating on crisis mode as the blood bank is out of blood, curtailing the Type B health facility’s ability to conduct elective surgery.
He says the treatment of victims of gun violence has totally depleted its stock of blood products and has forced them to put a hold on elective surgery.
Dr. Dawes pointed to the recent shooting at Grange Hill where 7 persons were shot and killed and 11 others wounded, as one of the main reasons for the hospital’s predicament.
“We had a blood drive a week before and all the blood that was collected was wiped out in one day when we had the Grange Hill shootings. It was very fortunate that we had the blood drive the week before so that we had enough blood to treat the victims, otherwise the body count would have been much higher as we would not be able to save as many persons as they came in,” Dr. Dawes explained.
He said they are operating under pressure now as while there has been a marked reduction in the number of gunshot wound victims, from four-a-day, as it persisted prior to the Grange Hill incident, it is still a challenge as when they get a single gunshot wound patient, it puts a major pressure on the system.
“There is still a lot of pressure because even if one patient comes in, they may need a dozen transfusions and in some instances, that may be all the reserves that we have in the hospital at the time and their stay in the hospital is longer as they are very sick patients. So, we exhausted the blood bank reserves treating patients.”
Dr. Dawes is therefore appealing to the public to come forward and give blood.
“So now we are constantly appealing for persons to come in and donate blood because we need to have an adequate reserve as there may not be a victim of gun violence but motor vehicle accident as well as and those persons may need blood as well.