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 ([email protected]
) 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
ii. Island Ferry
iii. Wings of Hope
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.