Could Knezwin Samuel still be alive today?
April 16, 2010
Could Knezwin Samuel still be alive today?

Should Knezwin Samuel still be alive today?

For some Chateaubelair residents the answer is yes.

They contend that Samuel’s life could have been saved, had he received timely and proper medical care.{{more}}

Samuel was shot around 8:45 p.m. on Friday, March 26.

He was then taken to the Chateubelair hospital, which is located some three minutes from the area where he was shot.

Information reaching SEARCHLIGHT indicates that the district doctor was not present at the hospital at the time, and only one medical staffer was present.

Further more, residents say a staff nurse was eventually brought in from a neighbouring district to the Chateaubeliar facility, and was seen arriving, carrying what they believe to be a box of medical supplies.

Residents atribute the man’s death to what they claim to be a shortage of medical supplies, including saline drips. They assert that on many occasions, medical facilities on the island have had to exchange medical supplies with each other.

They further added that the man was never administered the saline drips.

But according to an employee at the Chateaubelair hospital, by the time the victim arrived at the hospital, he had bled so badly that when the nurse attempted to erect the saline drips, the veins had collapsed, making it difficult to carry on with the procedure.

She also refuted the claim that there were no saline drips at the facility.

As for the reason why a doctor was not present at the time, the source said that there is a doctor assigned to the facility, but the person was away on vacation at the time of the incident.

“The question of there not being a doctor, this has happened before and will happen again,” Dr Douglas Slater, Minister of Health told SEARCHLIGHT.

“Hospitals in the districts, they don’t operate as in the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital where they (staff) will be there all the time,” he further explained.

“Traditionally, doctors go on vacation, and on those days, if persons go, they are not going to get to a medical staff there.”

“We do, however, re-route doctors to clinics during the days,” he said.

He went on to explain that facilities such as the one at Chateaubelair are only equipped to handle procedures such as stabilizing severly injured persons before being taken to Kingstown.

In relation to the issue of the shortage of medical supplies, Slater said that it is also common practice to share resources as it was not practical to store too much of one thing at any one medical place.

But according to the Health Minister, based on how the system is currently set up, incidents such as these are likely to occur.

“True, it was a life lost and it was unfortunate.”

“But can we judge the whole system based on this?”

“From time to time, you will have some gaps. Normally, that is not how it is, and we will keep doing our best,” Slater said.

He spoke of the polyclinics to be constructed under the $35 million 10th European Development Fund, which, acording to him, will be helpful in instances such as these.

“If we had a facility in Buccament, the vicitm could have been rushed there and then on to Kingstown.” (Additional reporting by Taranjah Yaw)