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Treatment Abroad in JEOPARDY; regional hospitals out of ICU space

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#TurksandCaicos, August 27, 2021 – Air Ambulance teams can show up to take you to a medical destination of choice, the TCI Hospitals can have you prepped and ready to go, but it is wholly out of the control of these providers and government to find Turks and Caicos residents a bed and a medical facility able to render life-saving medical care in the midst of the worst spell of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The situation is dire at home, but is especially bleak abroad and even though miles separate Turks and Caicos residents from the overwhelming statistics for cases and burdens on hospitals in nearby nations, their capacity woes are very much our own.

The Turks and Caicos Minister of Health was direct when he explained.

“Presently the TCI Hospitals does not have ICU capacity. It only has HDU which is High Dependency Unit capacity.  If you conditions turn to the worst, particularly with Covid-19 we have to fly you out.  The reality is there are only a certain amount of facilities that are accepting our patients,” said Jamell Robinson, the Minister of Health for Turks and Caicos during a press conference held Wednesday August 25.

Patients cannot be flown into Jamaica, The Bahamas or Florida due to their strained health care systems in this latest surge.  Colombia and the Dominican Republic are all that it left open for TCI medical evacuations and if the patient dies of COVID in these countries, the body will be cremated within 24-hours of death.

The details were among the shocking reveals coming Wednesday night when the Minister of Health, Jamell Robinson led a press conference and update on the coronavirus situation.

“We were also informed that the ICU beds in Florida were full at the time of asking, in particular Broward Health is required to prioritize public local patients over international private patients.  Consequently it is expected that as long as Florida is experiencing low ICU availability due to the surge in COVID cases, access to service will be impacted.”

The High Dependency Unit of the TCI Hospitals can function like an ICU until medical evacuation arrives but at this time, Turks and Caicos does not have sufficient staff or sufficiently qualified staff to offer the round the clock care and intense monitoring required when two or more organs are failing.

“In the month of July, in the beginning of this current surge we had only two patients but both of those patients, admitted to our Providenciales facility, had to flown out to ICU care and had to be placed on our pre ventilator status.  That is when their condition is so bad that we have to apply the ventilator to care for them and to help them to breathe,” said Dr. Baithwaite-Tenant, CEO of the TCI Hospitals in an overview presentation of the past two months.

“We admitted 10 patients so far in our Providenciales facility, the majority of those patients are females, 70 per cent; 30 per cent are males. Seventy per cent of those patients have chronic, non-communicable diseases of which the most common being hypertension or high blood pressure, diabetes Type 2, high cholesterol and heart disease. One patient was detected asymptomatic as a part of our screening,” the TCI Hospitals CEO added, “Sixty per cent of our patients are below the age of 60 years.”

Dr. Braithwaite-Tenant said Turks and Caicos would need several different types of specialist doctors and nurses to comprise a proper ICU team.  The Cheshire Hall Medical and Cockburn Town Medical centers are smaller acute secondary care facilities and that’s it, at least for now.

The hospitals strategic plan, which is taken in consultation with the Ministry of Health, includes the addition of an ICU in the future and not having the ICU, said Dr. Braithwaite Tenant is an identified risk, especially given the current global health crisis.

Hon Robinson, made the only plea he could, given the circumstances and the urgency.

“While this is a fluid situation yes, do you want to chance not having any options for having ICU help abroad.  Do not take that risk.”

His advice: Take the Covid-19 Vaccine.

Turks and Caicos currently administers the Pfizer/BioNtech brand, which on Monday August 23 moved from being emergency-use approved to being commercially-ready approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.

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Moderna & Pfizer approved for toddlers in US

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#USA, June 25, 2022 – Toddlers can now be vaccinated with either Moderna or Pfizer in the United States following the US Food and Drug Administration’s Advisory Committee vote to authorize the jabs for the youngest humans.

Some 2.5 million vaccines were ordered for these youngsters from Pfizer and 1.3 million are on order from Moderna.

The authorization committee voted unanimously on both vaccines and it comes as a relief to millions of parents who opted to keep their children away from family gatherings, even school

The lowest age a US resident can now get vaccinated is 6 months, Pfizer says their shot is ready for children six months to four years old and Moderna goes one year higher at 6 months to 5 years.  Both Pfizer and Moderna say the toddlers will need boosters in the future.

As of June 2, there have been 442 children between the ages of 0-4 years old who have died as a result of Covid-19 in the United States.

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Health

Listeria kills three in UK

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#UnitedKingdom, June 25, 2022 – At least 3 people have died in an ongoing listeria outbreak in the United Kingdom linked to smoked fish.  The Food Standards Agency in the UK says,  “Listeria is widespread in the environment and can contaminate a range of food at low or standard refrigeration temperatures.  It can be destroyed by thorough cooking.  It is of most concern in chilled, ready-to-eat foods that do not require further cooking, such as smoked fish.”

At least 12 cases, six of them since January, are linked to the fish.  Vulnerable individuals were especially affected by the outbreak including a pregnant woman and several elderly persons.  The three victims who died were all over 65 years old.

The agency said there was no need to avoid smoked fish but to cook it thoroughly.  Contaminated food may not look or smell spoiled but it can cause severe illness in pregnant women, cancer patients, children, and the elderly.

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Training Camps announced early as more can join the Footsteps4Good Challenge

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, June 25, 2022 – Last year’s participants were the first ones to ever circumnavigate the Turks and Caicos solely on manpower and this year they’re back again and with a broader vision for the challenge which is also a charity.  It’s time for the second staging of Footsteps4Good and if you missed out last year you’ll want to get in on the event in 2022.

Coming up this October and organized by Governor’s wife Amanda Dakin , TCI Red Cross, OneTCI, and the Provo Road Runners, this year&#39’s adventure will span 13 days and 200 miles in an adventurous crossing of the islands and cays of the TCI once again. The organizers say there will be sections and stages to suit all abilities and fitness levels.  Contributions will be nominal, from $20 for the stage being entered by any participant.

The announcement is going out early this year so that all the ‘fitness fanatics’ who want to take on the entire 13-day journey of hiking, rowing and extreme walking will be able to join the fitness training camps to get them ready for the physically grueling experience.

It is no joke.  From blisters to burns to bites and flat out exhaustion; it will take grit to get it done and join up as part of history in the making.

Organisers point out that not many people can say they have gone around the TCI just using their bodies; and they ask: ‘will you be one this year?’

For those who don’t want to try defying the odds, you can participate in single-day events on the family islands including run-walks, boating, and cycling or just making a financial donation.

For more information, you can email info2022fsfg@gmail.com

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