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Hospitals open probe into graphic photos of American tourist

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By Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer 

 

 

#TurksandCaicos, May 30, 2023 – An internal investigation has begun at the TCI Hospitals into how photos of a victim who lost her foot in a “reported Shark Attack” last week surfaced on social media as the possibility of legal action looms.

“The Turks and Caicos Islands Hospital is extremely concerned about the photos being circulated and have commenced an immediate investigation into the source of the photos,” they said in a statement to Magnetic Media.

The investigation will determine whether graphic photos of the injured woman came from within the TCI Hospital, it’s a slip up that if confirmed, could lead to a possible lawsuit.

Reports from official agencies confirmed that on Wednesday May 24th the young woman was carried from the waters of Grace Bay, where she was attacked.  Medics were awaiting the trauma patient at the Leeward Marina; those aiding the American tourist inform she was taken straight to shore and picked up in minutes by emergency workers. She was then taken swiftly to the Cheshire Hall Medical Centre before being airlifted some hours later.

Within hours, photos of the recent Yale University graduate who completely lost her foot, surfaced all over social media. The images were not only of her severed foot but the bloody stump appeared online.

It is believed a Caribbean Reef Shark mistook the young woman for prey and bit her as she snorkeled a popular reef near Providenciales.

However it is the behavior of people on land drawing concern about how much is too much and possible breaches in confidentiality.

In those photos, viewers can see several things:

  • An arm with blue gloves on holding the young woman’s severed foot over what appears to be a medical container of ice
  • Two sets of arms holding the severed body part while another photo is taken from a different angle and;
  • The young woman’s mutilated leg as hands reach to wrap in it medical gauze

Based on the photographs they had to have been taken with the knowledge of at least three people present, in addition at least one had to have been taken while the young woman lay bleeding on a gurney.  It’s not clear yet whether the confidentiality breach happened inside the medical centre.

Hospital officials are well aware of the gravity of the situation, when we questioned them on whether it was normal to take photos of patient;’ injuries they said

“This investigation is still ongoing.  There are times when it is appropriate for health and forensic professionals to take photos for plan of care and injury documentation, however, such photos are subject to strict professional ethics and patient confidentiality standards.”

Those professional standards likely do not include sharing images via social media or outside the hospital at all.  The photos have now been spread via whatsapp and posted on Facebook.

The young woman was medically evacuated to the US late on Wednesday night, we are told by the TCI Hospitals.

It is less clear if doctors abroad were able to reattach her foot.

Caribbean News

Yellow Fever Outbreak in Region and Beyond, Travellers Warned

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Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer 

 

#YellowFever#Caribbean, April 10, 2024 – Reports say there is an outbreak of Yellow fever in the Caribbean according to the Department of Health and official government advice website, Travel Health Pro, and travelers are being warned to be vigilant. The authorities say the outbreak is also in parts of Africa, and Central and South America.

Guyana and Peru so far have seen two cases. Brazil reports the disease in monkeys, an indication that it is spreading across the ccounty. Colombia has seen 3 cases.

In South America, between January 1 and March 18 2024, there have been seven confirmed cases, four fatal.

Yellow fever is spread by mosquitoes, Aedes aegypti (Linnaeus) and can cause potentially fatal hemorrhagic illness. Fortunately, it can be prevented with vaccination and so the World Health Organisation (WHO) is advising people ages nine months and older, traveling to the affected areas, to get vaccinated.

 

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Health

Children and Teens Vaping, Royal TCI Police say “IT IS NOT SAFE!”

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Dana Malcolm 
Staff Writer 

Vape use is rising in the Turks and Caicos Islands with even primary school students now partaking according to an exclusive policing interview with the Magnetic Media News Team on March 25th.

”Over the past few months, there has indeed been a noticeable increase in vaping activity within our local communities including youth as young as eight years old. This statement is supported by data collected from various sources within our health department and externally,” said Sgt. Huntley Forbes of the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force (RTCIPF) Community Policing Unit.

Vaping is the use of an electronic battery operated device to inhale tobacco. Often the devices are reusable with users able to switch out flavored inserts.

Forbes was speaking to Magnetic Media following the March 24 launch of an anti-vaping video, featuring top students, athletes and other young people alongside Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson, Former Premier, and representatives of the Community Policing Unit with the major message “DON’T VAPE!”.

The campaign was a partnership between the Bethany Baptist Youth Group and the Community Policing Department.

Forbes told the team that thanks to data from healthcare providers, and emergency room visits vaping related issues such as respiratory problems and nicotine addiction were available and showing the increase prompting immediate action.

“This rise is concerning due to the potential health risks associated with vaping, especially among younger demographics,” the Sergeant explained.

Vaping was billed as a ‘safe’ option to smoking in the past but health experts now agree that while it might be slightly less dangerous, it is not a safe alternative and should never be promoted as such.

The American Heart Association says most of these e-cigarettes deliver nicotine, some contain a higher dosage than cigarettes, which is not only highly addictive but is known to harm the developing brains of teens, kids and fetuses in women who vape. In addition, vapes can contain cancer causing chemicals.

Forbes says the team is planning a multi-faceted approach to the increase.

“We will collaborate with local health departments, community organizations, schools, and other stakeholders to gather and share information about vaping-related health concerns. By working together, we can develop comprehensive strategies to address these emerging issues.”

He also detailed the plans that will be enacted with immediacy:

Education and awareness campaigns: Community Policing will conduct educational campaigns to raise awareness about the health risks associated with vaping, particularly among younger demographics.

Support for cessation programs: Community Policing will support efforts to provide resources and support for individuals who want to quit vaping. This may include connecting individuals with the Substance Abuse department Forbes explained.

Educational materials: The RTCIPF will develop and distribute educational materials, such as brochures, posters, billboards to inform the public about the dangers of vaping.

Training for officers is the final facet of the response and Forbes says Police officers will receive training on recognizing vaping-related issues, interacting with individuals who vape, and enforcing relevant regulations.

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Health

AUTISM AWARENESS DAY 2024: ADVOCATING FOR INCLUSIVITY AND UNDERSTANDING

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April 2nd marks Autism Awareness Day, a global initiative aimed at raising awareness, acceptance, and understanding of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Every year, the Turks & Caicos Islands’ join other organizations around the world in promoting inclusivity and celebrating the unique strengths of individuals with autism.

According to the latest statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 1 in 100 children worldwide has ASD, with prevalence rates continuing to rise. Despite these numbers, many individuals with autism still face stigma, discrimination, and barriers to accessing education, employment, and healthcare.
In the Turks and Caicos Islands, we are proud to join the global movement to promote autism awareness and acceptance. As part of our efforts, we will be hosting several events throughout the month of April:

1. Fridays in Blue: Every Friday in April, we are encouraging the public to wear blue in support of spreading awareness.

2. Fun Day for Special Education Children: On Friday, April 26th, special education children from all schools in Providenciales are invited to participate in a day of fun-filled activities at the Snap Center. This event aims to provide a supportive and inclusive environment where children can socialize, learn, and thrive.

3. Autism Awareness “Rainbow” Walk: On Saturday, April 27th, we will be organizing an Autism Awareness Walk in Providenciales. This community event aims to raise awareness about autism and promote acceptance and understanding. Participants will walk together to show support for individuals with autism and their families. Upon registration, each participant will receive an autism awareness t-shirt to commemorate the occasion.

Director of Special Education Needs Services, Dr. Anya Malcolm-Gibbs, shared her thoughts on the importance of Autism Awareness Daty: “Autism Awareness Day serves as a reminder that every individual, regardless of their neurodiversity, deserves to be accepted and included in society. Care for our children with autism needs to be accompanied by actions on a community and country level to ensure greater accessibility, inclusion, and support.”

The Minister of Education, Hon. Rachel Taylor, also emphasized the significance of promoting autism awareness and acceptance: “Education is the key to fostering a more inclusive and understanding society. By raising awareness about autism and embracing neurodiversity in our schools and communities, we can create a more compassionate and supportive world for individuals with autism.”

We invite members of the media and the community to join us in celebrating Autism Awareness Day and supporting individuals with autism and their families.

For more information about our events and initiatives, please contact the Department of Special Education Needs Services at sens@gov.tc , also see the attached flyer for the free rainbow walk registration.

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