50 years ago: Sea rescues recounted and medical inadequacies highlighted

cayman-brac-by-LilianIn the June 15, 1966 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, a precursor of the Cayman Compass, Cayman Brac correspondent Lilian Ritch wrote:

“Throughout the period [of the impact of Hurricane Alma, June 5 to 7th] our greatest concern was for the two vessels in the storm and for our own Capt. R.C. Foster at the West End who was very ill.

“Wednesday [June 8] morning dawned clear. Soon the American Coast Guard plane flew in for Capt. Bertie. Then there was a boat pulling down towards the Kirktrader. Mrs. Alesia Van Zandt and her brother, Mr. Leonardi Carter had answered the mercy call from the Kirktrader that there was a sick man on board. Heavy seas made it impossible for a boat to put out from the Creek to the vessel. The Carters went to Spot Bay and waited while Messrs. Scott and Dixon of Spot Bay pulled to the ‘Trader’ and back bringing Mr. Charlie Bush, of Roatan, Spanish Honduras, a diabetic who was in serious condition. The Carters took him to the clinic where he was attended by resident nurse Gwen Service and detained. Mrs. Agatha Foster and Mrs. Millicent Dilbert gave insulin and Mrs. Delmah Jackson volunteered to be night nurse and on Thursday Mr. Bush was much recovered. He and his wife, Mrs. Ellie Mae Bush of West Bay and four month old baby were the guests of Mrs. Spencer Bodden of Creek.

“This week we all join to say a very hearty welcome to Mrs. Gwen Service who arrived on Friday the 3rd to take up duty as Resident Nurse for two years, and to Dr. and Mrs. Collins who arrived on Thursday the 9th. We understand and hope it is true that Dr. Collins is on full time service as our district medical officer.

“Public meetings were held [at Stake Bay on May 30 and Spot Bay on June 2] by MLA Mr. K.P. Tibbetts at which … medical services [were discussed].

“The report that Dr. Collins is to be appointed only from Thursday to Sunday of each week has for the past month has been disturbing public peace of mind, [and] his continuous flights out for medical aid over the past six months have only emphasized the inadequacy.

“Many feel that with the constructive putting together of our resources and community cooperation there is no reason why we cannot have a working medical and public health programme, on a base of a resident doctor, nurse and a small hospital unit.”

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