HEALTH CRISIS: Doctors Hospital choosing who gets ventilators


DOCTOR’s Hospital “out of space” and “out of staff”

Doctor’s Hospital.


In a stunning declaration, Doctors Hospital CEO Dr. Charles Diggiss said yesterday that the hospital is “out of space” and “out of staff” and is now choosing who gets to be put on a ventilator and who does not.

With a deluge of COVID-19 patients presenting at the hospital, Diggiss said Doctors Hospital is now being “tried and tested in an unprecedented way”, adding that “COVID care is consuming our resources”.

“We (Doctors Hospital Health System) are managing through a punishing level of excess utilization of our resources,” Diggiss said in an email to the leadership team at Doctors.

“We are out of space and out of staff!”

He added, “The safety of our non-COVID patients is still threatened as we continue to house COVID patients in unsecured spaces (no more available negative pressure isolation).

“We are doing phenomenal juggling of matching patient’s needs to our dwindling resources [of] staff and space.

“We cannot say enough about our nurses and respiratory techs.

“Our RNs and [respiratory] techs are still stepping up to continuously assure the most effective treatment of our patients.”

Diggiss said there are nine ventilated patients at Doctors Hospital West and five ventilated patients at Doctors Hospital East.

He said the hospital is “getting down to one working ventilator”.

“We are making decisions now about who gets to be put on the ventilator and who does not!”

The hospital has 19 ventilators. Diggiss said two of them are out for repair.

Diggiss thanked the team at Doctors east and west for their work.

He asked the leadership team to encourage Bahamians and residents not to have social events; to wear their masks and physical distance; to get tested when COVID exposure or contact occurs; and to get vaccinated now.

“Our healthcare resources are limited,” he stressed.

“You do not need to become more of a burden to an already overwhelmed public and private healthcare capacity.”

He said breakthrough infections are uncommon.

As of August 15, there were 37 COVID patients in Doctors Hospital, with eight in the intensive care unit.

A total of 142 people were in hospital in country with COVID at that time.

Doctors Hospital West can accommodate up to 18 patients and Doctors Hospital East can accommodate up to 50 patients, Diggiss said.

Doctors Hospital is also experiencing a crisis with low oxygen supplies.

Diggiss told The Nassau Guardian on Saturday that with diminishing oxygen supplies in Florida, the hospital has been scrambling to find oxygen.

The leadership at Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) said last month that public hospitals in the country were at a breaking point as more and more COVID patients presented each day, many of them young and very ill.

PMH officials reiterated this position yesterday, confirming that they, too, are out of space.

In July, there were 2,185 new COVID cases were reported. During the first 15 days of August, 1,748 new cases of COVID were reported.

Many health experts in the country say there are likely more new COVID cases occurring each day than what is actually reported.

In total, 16,668 cases and 313 confirmed deaths have been reported since March 2020.

Last month, when COVID hospitalizations hit 100, Dr. Nikkiah Forbes, director of the National HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Programme, warned that if something is not done to flatten the curve of new infections, the situation would get worse.

Diggiss said as much on Saturday.

The state of emergency, which was set to end last week, was extended to November 13, 2021.

But the only amendment to the emergency order was the tightening of the curfew on several islands.

Consultant Physicians Staff Association (CPSA) Secretary General Dr. Shakera Carroll said recently a lockdown may now be necessary to get a handle on the situation.

But, last week, Minister of State for Finance Kwasi Thompson said that locking the country down would take The Bahamas from a health crisis to an economic one.