Health services do well

Both George Town Hospital and Ambulance services have reported relatively smooth operations over the weekend, with no major injuries reported.

At George Town Hospital, all essential HSA employees were on duty. In addition to the accident and emergency room, laboratory, radiology and pharmacy services were online and ready to respond.

Medical professionals were also stationed at the six Emergency Medical Centres that were established at some shelters.

HSA Acting CEO Lizzette Yearwood said Hurricane Dean gave the HSA an opportunity to test run its hurricane preparedness plans, and it will be even better prepared next time a hurricane threatens.

‘We still learnt lessons from this; it was a good opportunity to refine our plan,’ she said.

‘The staff were prepared and very cooperative. Managers were in both Saturday and Sunday making sure everything was in order; making sure the staff were prepared personally as well.’

Because the HSA could not close to let staff take care of personal preparations, they implemented a staggered rotation, giving staff members a few extra hours every day to ensure they were personally prepared.

‘We insist that they put priority on their family and personal preparedness early so when the hurricane gets closer, they are ready to be here and provide their services to the public,’ Ms Yearwood said.

Only six members of the public sought shelter at the hospital. Ms Yearwood said arrangements were made to take these people to the Red-Cross Shelter.

‘I was really impressed with the level of dedication and cooperation that our people displayed. They had no problem putting everything else aside to help the public.’

Emergency Medical Services Manager Stephen Duval said although paramedic crews had no major incidents to respond to, they were busy transporting the elderly from retirement homes to Emergency Medical Centres.

‘The Emergency Medical Service’s contingency plan went smooth and efficiently and we are good and prepared for next time,’ he said.

One cause of concern for Mr. Duval is that when people boarded up their houses, many had their house number covered. This could have made it difficult for ambulance crews to find people in need of assistance.

Next time, he would like people to at least mark on the plywood their house number and the number of people sheltering inside.

‘Too many times we go to a residence and have no idea who is inside there and what the house number is. That is the one change I think would be a significant help to the people of these islands,’ he said.

In an address to the public on Radio Cayman Tuesday night, Health and Human Services Minister Anthony Eden paid tribute to the Hospital and Emergency Medical Services employees.

‘These are people that left their own homes, as well as their family and friends, in order to be available to take care of others.

‘Truly, I cannot adequately express the gratitude that I have for them.’

Mr. Eden also praised volunteers, wardens and medical professionals that were stationed at Hurricane Shelters and Emergency Medical Centers.

‘Their spirit is a Caymanian characteristic for which Caymanians are known and loved.

‘This is the spirit that brings in tourists. This is the spirit that helps us balance commerce with the needs of humanity.’

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