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#333727 - 04/18/09 04:59 PM The care and emergency treatment of Mr. Fred Somes
Marty Offline
from the Chamber of Commerce....

The following email was received to better clarify the events that occurred in the care and emergency treatment of Mr. Fred Somes. The Chamber apologizes for any inaccuracies it may have reported:

Ambergris Caye Emergency Rescue

The minutes of the Chamber meeting on April 2 might have given a slightly incorrect evaluation of what happen on the morning of March 27th.

ACER had a First responder on the scene fifteen minutes after we received the call about Fred Somes. We had another 4 responders on scene with oxygen and IV supplies five minutes later. I knew who was supposed to be on call that morning, had his number and personally tried to call the Polyclinic Doctor. He did not answer after repeated calls. I then called another Doctor and after repeated calls he answered and came to the scene. I also called the other Polyclinic Doctor that wasn't on duty and he came to the scene.

The team knew we needed cardiac drugs and a monitor on the scene. There was a delay in getting what we needed even though we asked for them when we made the call to the Doctors.

Collectively we got Fred stable enough to transport him to Belize City. I personally arranged the flight with Tropic and he was moved in a little less than two hours after we got the call. There was no delay due to not having proper phone numbers. I have personally maintained a phone list of Emergency Phone Numbers for three years. It is available to anyone by email (scubawalk@aol.com) and I have personally delivered it to most of the Doctors around town. It would be helpful if the Doctors of San Pedro would enter these important numbers in their cell phones and carry them to calls outside their office.

This is not intended to be an indictment of any Doctor. They work long hours and don't get the credit they are due.

We do need a better plan if San Pedro is to grow and prosper in tough economic times. If we canít provide adequate Medical treatment on this island, tourists will travel elsewhere and local citizens will suffer needlessly.

Random thoughts about medical issues of San Pedro

1. Hold a quarterly government sponsored meeting of all Doctors on Ambergris Caye to discuss the ongoing growth of medical needs on the island.

2. First meeting to focus on Hurricane readiness

3. Create a plan to handle emergencies

a. Who can be treated on the island and who needs to be evacuated

b. What is the best way to evacuate based on type of injury

c. Available resources to provide transportation

i. Tropic/Maya

ii. Island Ferry

iii. Wings of Hope


v. BDF

vi. Astrum

d. Doctors need to know the costs to evacuate Ė locals vs tourists Ė so the patient can make an informed decision as to how to handle their medical needs

i. Which Doctors know how to evacuate tourists back to their home country?

e. Should the Belizean Government set up a pre-arrangement with a Medical Evacuation service to provide coverage for tourists?

i. Provide consistent service at a fixed cost to tourists

ii. Evacuation insurance

f. Most Doctors on the island and the Polyclinic have been supplied with an excel spread sheet of all the emergency numbers. It would be a good idea for them to save the important ones in their cell phones so they will be available if they need them in an emergency.

g. Doctors who know how to use cardiac drugs and Nitro should have a supply in their homes so they respond directly to the emergency without having to go by their offices to pick them up.

h. AEDís and monitors should be checked on a regular basis to make sure they work and the batteries are charged.

i. Oxygen tanks should be refilled and checked after each emergency

Dr. Wil Lala, who agreed to follow up on this topic last week, was in agreement with the above recommendations. He also found that a doctor who has been here for 8 years but was trained in Germany is finally approved to get her license to practice in Belize. She is an Emergency Care specialist and Dr. Lala is going to draft a letter to the Minister of Health to have her assigned to San Pedro to assess the emergency care needs of the town and the Poly Clinic as well as providing Emergency Care services.

The Poly Clinic was discussed because it has the facilities to be an emergency care center but it has not been set up that way. The Lionís Club funded the Clinic initially. It was suggested that the Chamber and the Lionís Club meet to discuss what can be done to make the Poly Clinic the Emergency Care Center.

#333737 - 04/18/09 07:00 PM Re: The care and emergency treatment of Mr. Fred Somes [Re: Marty]
reaper Offline
And to think no one wants Belize-N-Us to move to San Pedro and help out...

#333742 - 04/18/09 09:07 PM Re: The care and emergency treatment of Mr. Fred Somes [Re: reaper]
Danny2 Offline

Every community should have such a plan. Get er done.!

#333765 - 04/19/09 01:45 AM Re: The care and emergency treatment of Mr. Fred Somes [Re: Danny2]
Belize-N-Us Offline

"It was suggested that the Chamber and the Lionís Club meet to discuss what can be done to make the Poly Clinic the Emergency Care Center."

Does this sound familiar?
Future full time Belizeans
Tommy & Sonia Blackledge
Magee, MS 601-849-1918

#333766 - 04/19/09 01:58 AM Re: The care and emergency treatment of Mr. Fred Somes [Re: Belize-N-Us]
Belize-N-Us Offline
Above recomendations are a good start. I would just like to add that expecting any of the doctors to be adequately supplied and bring their own supplies to the scene in a timely fasion is not reasonable.

The town should purchase a cart or van (personally I think ALL vans should be removed from the island) and transform this vehicle into an ambulance equiped with the basics to evaluate, stabilize and transport patients with medical emergencies.

In addition emergency responders would need to be trained and available 24/7 to bring this vehicle to the scene and properly utilize it in a timely manor.

The cost of the vehicle and needed basic equipment would not be very high. The largest expense would be the need to pay emergency responders to be on stand-by 24/7.

I personally will help any way possible with this effort.

I posted images of some medical cart examples in the photos section.

I am not an ATLS (Adult Trauma Life Support) instructor but I am ATLS certified as well as PALS (Pediatric Advanced Life Support) certified and could teach much of these coarses to the emergency responders if needed.

Edited by Belize-N-Us (04/19/09 02:33 AM)
Future full time Belizeans
Tommy & Sonia Blackledge
Magee, MS 601-849-1918

#333768 - 04/19/09 05:00 AM Re: The care and emergency treatment of Mr. Fred Somes [Re: Belize-N-Us]
CaptOneIron Offline
I certainly concur that a crash cart should be purchased, maintained and dispatched with the first responders. I also believe that an ATV such as a Polaris should be availalbe at all times for those first responders and at a minimum should carry one of the Phillips portable defibrillators and a full scale First Aid Kit along with mechanical devices for freeing a victim that is caught in a vehicle or structure. It would also be helpful if the ATV could be fitted with a stretcher that someone could be strapped down to so as facilitate transport for more definitive treatment. I have had a lot of experience in this area and would be more than willing to try and help establish some kind of system that would more effectively respond to emergencies.
Captain One Iron

#333775 - 04/19/09 09:00 AM Re: The care and emergency treatment of Mr. Fred Somes [Re: CaptOneIron]
papashine Offline
What happened to the ambulance that Dr, Jeff had donated to the Island 5 or 6 years ago? Does anybody know if it is still here, does it need much in the way for repairs?
Reality..What a concept!

#333776 - 04/19/09 09:07 AM Re: The care and emergency treatment of Mr. Fred Somes [Re: papashine]
SP Daily Offline
Haven't seen it for years...it was loaded with equipment and supplies that were purchased with funds raised by community fund-raising...and then parked and abandoned behind the school.

#333777 - 04/19/09 09:37 AM Re: The care and emergency treatment of Mr. Fred Somes [Re: SP Daily]
natalie p Offline
The ACER team has been doing a fantastic job as first responders, they are well trained and efficient.They are volunteers.
The problem is not so much as to HOW to get them there as to WHERE to take them.

#333797 - 04/19/09 11:24 AM Re: The care and emergency treatment of Mr. Fred Somes [Re: natalie p]
Amanda Syme Offline
Nurse Natalie has hit the nail on the head. The first responders have boats, trucks, atv's etc at their disposal via a network of volunteers - but the poly clinic isn't open 24 hours per day, the private clinics are open only during regular hours too. So if there is an emergency in the middle of the night a doctor must be located and willing to open up his clinic.

Again this boils down to money. When the private doctors open up their clinics to emergencies there is no guarantee that there will be a form of payment/reimbursement for the supplies utilized during the emergency. And yes this might sound very materialistic - but if the doctors can't pay their bills they are forced to close up shop.

The poly clinic is simply a clinic - not a hospital and as such is not fully equipped or manned to handle emergencies 24/7.

We need to work as a community to lobby the government and secure private funding etc to get the clinic converted into a hospital. This should be a high priority for the town.

And this may not seem "fair" but I believe that all of the doctors on the island should offer a few hours each week to be not simply available on call, but actually stationed at the poly clinic - and of course they should be paid for those hours of duty. Yet another doctor should be available on call in case of multiple injuries or illnesses.

In a town of 20,000 residents there should always be at least one doctor available to assist in emergencies or respond to illnesses.

We have plenty of wonderful folks that are willing to volunteer their time, vehicles etc. but these volunteers are not all certified and licensed physicians. Those that are qualified really do need to band together and figure out a workable system to support the town.

If we co-ordinate all efforts, monies and equipment etc into one central location we will attain the goal much quicker than if we continue with small, private, semi-equipped clinics with doctors that are often absent over weekends and holidays.

This is truly a dire situation that the towns people should be up in arms over.

Of course, there are a few other critical amenities that need to be addressed and it seems that slowly but surely each situation is beginning to receive the attention they deserve.

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