Letters to the Editor

Wonderful staff being let down at KEMH

Dear Sir,

We are in a critical health situation, along with our other crises. Face it, King Edward VII Memorial Hospital is not working.

There are simply not enough beds and I was there this week in the emergency room, sitting in an alcove for nine hours awaiting the diagnosis of pneumonia.

The doctor wanted to admit me but I looked around the room and pointed out 20 to 30 patients lying and sitting along the corridors, and in all the examination rooms, waiting to be admitted to a ward. An EMT said he recognised some people from the night before.

Frankly, I failed to spot any oxygen supply points, or even IVs, both of which I needed. The staff are run off their feet trying to deal with this situation, trying to keep their patients stable, but doing additional jobs that these highly professional nurses should not be having to tackle.

Feeding patients, pushing them to various areas for tests, moving people from beds to chairs, and people to beds, from area to area, and room to room. We are going to lose patients, and, unfortunately, staff. They did not sign up for this.

The emergency room doctors and nurses are working at full tilt to stabilise the situation, but with nowhere to go, young children are waiting alongside some very, very sick patients. Kudos to the mothers for being able to control their three-year-olds for many hours.

And why is there only one working blood-pressure monitor in the whole department? The other one — two in all? — is broken. I have mentioned this lack of basic equipment before. And we have wonderful volunteer support. Why aren’t they manning the telephones, making test appointments, delivering food? Holding a hand? My heart goes out to the wonderful staff, and I thank you.

The whole design of our hospital is totally off the walls — atriums, waiting areas, huge rooms, and not enough beds?

I don’t know who was ultimately responsible for signing off on the design, but I would guess that they are still running away.

The only good thing, apart from getting a diagnosis — they were very thorough — is that I met a lot of wonderful people and have a whole new bunch of friends. I wish them all better health and us all better service.

It should be pointed out also that highly qualified specialists are coming to Bermuda to perform surgeries that are often cancelled at the last minute because of a lack of beds on the wards for post-operative care. What a terrible waste of money and highly professional care.

LIZ WILKINSON SMITH

St George’s