Sad end to Bodden Town clinic era

Residents remember homey touch from nurses, facility

Heavy machinery smashed into the old Bodden Town Clinic bringing down an aging building left shuttered after receiving extensive damage from hurricanes over the years. 

After conducting a structural soundness survey on the building, Ministry of Works, Agriculture and Lands officials found the building unsafe for occupancy and had it demolished. 

At the moment, it remains unclear what the area may be used for in the future. 

“I’m sad to see the old clinic go,” said community resident Twyla Vargas. “In earlier years, the old clinic had a family touch to it and will always be remembered by many in the community for its homey touch and historic significance for the many who sought services there.” 

For years, residents in the community had lobbied that the two-storey building located on the beach opposite the Bodden Town Post Office in central Bodden Town be put to some use and not left to deteriorate. Few suggested it be torn down. 

Others suggested turning the downstairs into a handicraft, tourist information centre with a Member of the Legislative Assembly office upstairs. At one time, government officials did make an official statement suggesting plans to lease or use the old clinic but it never came to realisation. 

Government eventually agreed to do something and renovations began on the building to make it available to residents as a handicraft centre and MLA office. 

Just before Hurricane Ivan in 2004, government had completed renovations on the building. In fact they had almost completed the process with furniture and essential items ready to be unpacked when it was damaged. After the hurricane, it was discovered that saltwater and sand had destroyed the whole lot and nothing more was done. 

Before the building came tumbling down, workers from the Public Works Department salvaged anything they could, removed the windows, checked the power supply and gave the thumbs-up to a demolition crew sub-contracted by the government to do the work this past week.  

For more than 50 years, the old district clinic had serviced the residents of Bodden Town before the new one was built next to the police station.  

Recalling services carried out in the building in early years, Ms Vargas speaks of the friendly relationship with doctors and nurses working there. 

“The best part about the old clinic was the nurses lived upstairs and one could go calling anytime of the night when someone was sick in the area. The services were not as much as they have at the new clinic today, but it served its purpose with doctors from [Cayman Islands] Hospital making weekly visits to the clinic.  

“Even if it was a situation when nurses could not come to you, one could go to the clinic and be taken care of. It was more user friendly than the new one; even the connection between the doctors and nurses were better. For sure the memories that residents hold of what went on there will always be remembered even though the building will not be there as a reminder,” she said. 

According to Ms Vargas, nurses did mostly everything from giving injections to putting patients to bed until they could get them to George Town for further care if a doctor was not on call.  

She recalls the downstairs had only three rooms and a bathroom. The reception area was big enough to accommodate five chairs and a nurse’s check-in station. In a little back room facing the beach, nurses would give injection and do minor checks. In the same area was a little kitchen with a refrigerator. In the east side room doctors would check patients. 

Old Bodden Town clinic demolished

The old Bodden Town clinic has been demolished. – Photos: Submitted

Old Bodden Town clinic demolished 2

The old Bodden Town clinic before demolition.