Source: Cayman Compass
Doctors in the Cayman Islands’ public and private hospitals have responded with a united call-to-arms since the coronavirus reached these shores.
Amidst the global pandemic, in which many overseas healthcare workers have lost their lives while treating COVID-19 patients, they have risen to the occasion with professionalism and large amount of personal bravery.
Dr Elizabeth McLaughlin of the HSA agrees that the islands were well-prepared for COVID-19.
“We have been preparing for public health emergencies over the years,” she said.
By early March the HSA had arranged to acquire off-site facilities to house patients should the need arise, forged tentative agreements with private physicians in case additional clinical staff were required and invested significant funds into personal protective equipment and ventilators.
The HSA can treat up to 30 COVID-19 patients in Grand Cayman and six in Cayman Brac, with the capacity to care for 16 ventilated patients and more if necessary.
But while they are trained and equipped to deal with the coronavirus crisis, there are still a number of new personal practices that each healthcare worker has had to adopt.
Dr McLaughlin, who is the clinical head of Accident & Emergency and EMS, said that continually wearing a mask while working is one of the more simple but challenging adjustments for her, personally.
“I know this may be an unexpected response, with all the information of persons dying, and lack of ventilators,” she said. “Presently, here, we have adequate ventilators and can meet the current demands but working behind a mask, and managing persons behind a mask can have an impersonal feel to it. It does take some adjusting to ensure effective communication.”
She also said that the humanity of healthcare workers often becomes lost in the process of dealing with the coronavirus and treating all of the other known and regular health issues in an era where all patients must be presumed as COVID-positive.
“The risk is there,” she said. “The news reports are a constant reminder…
I am also fortunate to be surrounded by colleagues and teams who are hardworking and compassionate, and my concern is for them. They inspire me to stay focused, to be creative and strive for the best care for our patients.”
The HSA is part of the National COVID-19 Response Task Force alongside Doctors Hospital, Health City Cayman Islands and The Cayman Islands Medical and Dental Society.
The HSA has also been working with a number of volunteers from Cayman Islands Red Cross who is assisting with the coordination of COVID-19 screening at onsite and drive-through screening tents.
Read the full story at the Cayman Compass.