Long Island Seeks Change to a broken Healthcare System

Im asking all Long Islanders and those who love our island to support this letter addressed to Dr. Michael Darville, Minister of Health & Wellness. Let's speak up about our concerns so that they hear us! #LongIslandStrong


Dear Sir:

We, the residents of Long Island, write to you with heavy hearts following the recent tragedy that happened on our peaceful island on Friday night (21st January, 2022). In the midst of our own heartbreak and disbelief, we also write with disappointment and great frustration regarding the healthcare system and we are seeking change!

We have come together to speak out and to speak up on the issues at hand, as well as offer reasonable suggestions to each of the problems below, for which we are seeking prompt responses. It is both a right and a privilege to stand for change to provide better healthcare services on the family islands not just for us, but for the future generations to come. Although we do not live in the capital city of Nassau, we are Bahamians – Our Lives Matter Too!

Firstly, we would like to address the response time of the healthcare staff. It took nearly an hour for the doctor to arrive at the scene although she resides just a short distance away and the Deadman’s Cay Clinic being less than a mile from the scene. It’s unacceptable and we request an internal investigation as to why there was such a delay for medical attention that Friday night. It is often understood that it is challenging to be on call 24/7, however, every life matters. Perhaps there should be a minimum of two (2) doctors (with adequate supportive nursing staff or EMT specialists) posted at both ends of the island to provide better services to the community. This is a critical matter especially when it comes to emergencies.

Additionally, we would like to address the matter of the transport of persons from an accident scene to the clinic. It is sad that in this year of 2022 that we have to transport our fellow islanders on the backs of trucks comparative to animals. Our suggestion to remedy this would be to have an emergency response team with a fully stocked ambulance with all the necessary equipment inclusive of but not limited to hard neck collars and stretchers. Our MP, Adrian Gibson, stated that we had received the first of two (2) ambulances back in April 2021. Where is that ambulance now? We have many young men and women who are more than willing and who have already come forward to accept the opportunity to be trained in this area but we cannot do it alone. This training is essential for our island.

Furthermore, a repeated offense is that the morgue at the Deadman’s Cay Clinic is not functioning. While we have had members of the community aid in reparations of the morgue it appears that the Department of Public Health does not maintain and service the morgue at the Deadman’s Cay Clinic. Driving some 45 minutes to the other end of the island to place those of the deceased in the morgue in Simms is despicable.

As a reminder, Long Islanders are known to be hard-working and resilient - we are both resourceful and qualified. We have pilots who own planes on the island who used to be able to transport persons when needed in emergency situations. Why has this been stopped? We need the monopoly of Air Ambulance services to be discontinued. The added burden here is time, as Long Island is situated nearly 200 miles southeast of Nassau. This sir is precious time that is very critical in emergencies.

Our fellow brother, Manoli Constantakis, who survived the initial accident could have been saved had he received care just an hour or two less than what it actually took. Unfortunately, he is not the only one who suffered this fate. There have been many accidents in the past where time would have made a major difference in the outcome of our fellow Long Islanders. If there is a mini hospital in Exuma to cater to the southern islands of The Bahamas, why is this not functioning at capacity? Exuma is barely 15 minutes away! Do we not matter because our numbers are few? We are equally Bahamians, as are our fellow citizens in Nassau.

Dr. Darville, please hear and heed to our cry. This situation is not unique to Long Island, this is not the first time it has occurred, and we know this may not be the last time it will happen, but we urge you to meet our requests. We cannot prevent every accident, but we can try to limit fatalities. This can happen to anyone, locals and tourists alike, and we need change.

Our Lives Matter Too!

With broken and contrite hearts,

The Residents of Long Island

Shannen C. Jones on behalf of Long Island    Contact the author of the petition

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