Leaky roof at hospital puts surgeries on hold
October 26, 2007

Leaky roof at hospital puts surgeries on hold

A leaky operating theatre impaired the progress of the Vision Now programme, and put 300 persons on hold for surgeries.{{more}}

The surgeries finally began Friday, October 12, three weeks behind schedule.

At a press conference held at the Ministry of Health’s conference room, Minister of Health Dr Douglas Slater said that the problem with the leaking roof was a long standing one.

He said that when the team of 12 came in from Cuba a month ago, the problem at the operating theatre got worse, enough to affect normal operations.

When asked why it took so long to deal with the problem with the theatre, Dr Slater said that since in the 1990s, engineers, and roofing experts from Trinidad were called in, but were unable to resolve the problem.

“There were a lot of design flaws,” Dr Slater said an engineer who examined the situation recently determined.

Dr Slater said that the reality was that there were a lot of issues with the construction of the roof.

Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health Lanceford Weekes said that because the problems with the roof went back to construction, it had been difficult to identify the problem at first, and it required constant reexamination.

However, with that problem seemingly behind the hospital officials, for now, the two-year-old Vision Now programme continues full steam ahead.

Dr Slater said that the specialist team will be trying to conduct 20 operations per day.

The Vision Now programme was launched in 2005, with patients going to Cuba for their surgeries. Dr Slater explained that it was felt that it would be more prudent to have the specialists come to St Vincent and have the surgeries done here instead.

Since the inception of Vision Now programme, some 20,000 persons have been screened and 2,500 operations conducted.

One beneficiary of Vision Now, Stuart Gill, used the opportunity of the press conference to present a plaque of St Vincent and the Grenadines to Cuban Ambassador Olga Chamero Trias, and Dr Arian Rodriguez Lopez of Cuba, as a show of his gratitude for the blessing of improved sight that the programme has brought to him, and many other Vincentians. (KJ)