Tuesday’s massive explosion in Cul-de-Sac triggered the full mass casualty response from the Victoria Hospital as the casualties came steaming into the Accident and Emergency Department.
A total of 15 patients presented at the hospital suffering from various injuries with some requiring immediate surgical procedures. One patient succumbed to his injuries while others were stabilized. Additional nurses, doctors, ancillary and admin staff responded quickly to manage the injured as well as the friends and family members who arrived on the scene. It was a baptism by fire for newly appointed Ag. Executive Director of the Victoria Hospital, Brenda Calixte who took up her duties only one day ago. She was however exceedingly please with the response of the hospital staff to manage the situation.
“From the time we got the news, what we did is we rounded up all the clinical personnel, surgical personnel, the Medical Director, the Nursing Director, all our admin persons are there. We also got more security personnel to come in. We also got the domestic assistants, the orderlies, all these persons including our admin persons, accountant and everybody, all those persons in supplies, the lab, everybody was rounded up and everybody is here… Persons are working and the doctors are really helpful, the doctor are there and they are working.”
The Executive Director sympathized with family members for the sudden shock brought about by this incident but assured that the hospital in adequately managing the situation.
“Right now we have everything under control. We also have the Lamina Hospital in Martinique they have called us to let us know that they are on standby if we need to transfer anybody to Martinique.”
Calixte added that patients on wards who could safely be managed at home were discharged to make bed space available, while other persons reporting to the A&E Department agreed to wait a little longer to be attended to by medical personnel.
Prime Minister, Hon. Allen Chastanet and Minister for Economic Development, Hon. Guy Joseph were on site at the Victoria Hospital to provide assistance to staff particularly with respect to travel arrangement to Martinique and to empathize with numerous family and friends gathered at the hospital.
“It is very sad and my sympathies go out to the families especially those who have lost their loved ones and our prayers are with those who are still alive and maybe in a critical condition that things are going to work out and that we are not going to have any more casualties than we have. It’s very sad when an individual leaves and goes to work and his family expects him to come back home and on the job a tragedy like this happens. It’s a very difficult situation to deal with.”
Minister Joseph indicated that while attending a budget meeting on the Waterfront they received reports that the building had shaken due to a massive explosion at Farrand Quarry in Cul-de-Sac. The meeting was quickly ended and he and the Prime Minister immediately visited the site where they learnt of two deaths on location and a number of injured persons transported to Victoria Hospital.
“I know the Prime Minister has been in touch with counterparts in Martinique, medical persons and other persons to put measures in place in the event that we need to transport anybody to Martinique. I have been in discussion with the directors at the hospital. As far as we know the response has been very good from the hospital. All the personnel that is required were called in and they responded very quickly and we must really applaud our medical team and our workers for responding with such limited resources as we know the challenges that we have in the health sector to the mass casualties that we have had today.”
The Victoria Hospital provided coffee, tea and water in their staff lounge to family members awaiting the outcome of their loved one’s situation while the Prime Minister organised meals for the hard working staff and volunteers many of whom worked extended shifts. Four patients were also airlifted to Martinique for treatment early Wednesday Morning. Three doctors from Martinique are currently at Victoria Hospital to assist with patient management.