Categorized | Featured, National News

FNM Calls For Improved Family Island Clinics

A number of young men from the Family Islands continue to suffer annually from decompression sickness (the bends) due to a lack of medical equipment, this according to Opposition Deputy Leader Loretta Butler Turner who recently urged the government to improve health care facilities throughout the Family Islands.

Given the recent death of fisherman Glen Bullard who died from decompression sickness on Harbour Island, Mrs. Butler-Turner maintains that his life could have very well been saved.

“When we look at health reform which I know this house will be looking at shortly, I think one of the things that we must get right is certainly improving the health facilities that we have on our chain of islands,” she said.

“I had the opportunity along with members of the Opposition to look at the clinic in Harbour Island and there’s a lot lacking there, I don’t know when life can be saved or can’t be saved but one of the things I would like to recommend to this House is that we look at a means where especially in these fishing villages that we perhaps have some type of equipment there to deal with the bends because we have a lot of young men throughout our family of islands that are suffering from these things, I think it could be preventable.”

Health Minister Dr. Perry Gomez acknowledged that the government is aware of the poor conditions and health infrastructure of many clinics throughout the Family Islands, he said the government remains committed to upgrading medical facilities and improving health care, however, it remains a challenge.

“To address the issue for the treatment of the bends, you need equipment and the question is when will we be able to afford this equipment on every island because you need it everywhere because its difficult to transport someone in need of the bends miles away because time is so critical, it’s a difficult example to tackle because time is of the essence in saving along with the proper equipment,” he said.

“As we move to Universal Health Care (UHC), we suspect and hope that we will be able to afford many more of these things for our Family Islands.”

Decompression sickness which is commonly referred to as the bends is caused by nitrogen bubbles forming in the bloodstream and tissues of the body.

The bubbles occur from when an individual ascend rapidly from a dive.

A person suffering from decompression sickness could experience severe pains in their joints and chest, skin irritation, cramps, paralysis and even death.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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