Wednesday, October 13, 2021
By TANYA SMITH-CARTWRIGHT
AN Andros woman is dead from COVID-19 after being airlifted to New Providence for treatment while her elderly mother remains in hospital fighting the disease.
Both women were airlifted out of Mangrove Cay last week, with an island health official saying there was some issue initially in finding available bed space for them in Nassau.
Health officials have said that the Mangrove Cay Clinic in Andros has a sufficient supply of oxygen to deal with COVID-19 patients and officials will deliver a supply of PPEs for staff today.
However, a doctor at the clinic stressed that a proper facility is needed, lamenting the fact that healthcare workers are providing treatment at a “temporary makeshift place”.
The recent COVID-19 related death of Bahamas Power and Light employee Rosa Bastian raised concerns about whether there was equipment and oxygen to treat her before she was airlifted to New Providence.
Ms Bastian and her mother fell ill to COVID-19 last week. Ms Bastian’s mother is currently in an intensive care unit battling the deadly disease, but The Tribune understands the daughter succumbed to COVID while being prepared for transfer from a tent at Princess Margaret Hospital to Doctors Hospital.
Both Health and Wellness Minister Dr Michael Darville and doctor in charge of the Mangrove Cay Clinic, Dr Teka Grant-Thompson, have confirmed that the clinic did have oxygen to treat them. However there was some delay in getting the patients transferred to New Providence for treatment due to a shortage of bed space, The Tribune was told.
In a harrowing, breathless final voice note to friends and family, Ms Bastian asked for prayers.
“I request your prayers… all of you.” she said. “My mom and I are COVID-19 positive. We’re doing our best, but we could always use some prayers. So please pray for us. Thank you so much.”
The two women were airlifted to New Providence on Wednesday of last week and Ms Bastian died on Friday. It is said that they both were unvaccinated with comorbidities.
Speaking with The Tribune yesterday, Dr Darville dismissed speculation that there was not enough oxygen in that clinic and said that PPEs were on the way.
“There was an adequate oxygen supply at the Mangrove Cay Clinic,” Dr Darville said. “There is an issue with a shortage of PPEs. While there is a shortage, a plan has been put in place. We are loading a plane, as we speak, that is heading to Mangrove Cay and Kemps Bay and it will drop off additional supplies today. Also there is a boat, the Captain Moxey, which has more supplies for the clinics in those particular areas.
“The boat will take a little longer to arrive in those areas, but the plane will arrive sooner with those supplies to ensure there are adequate PPEs. However, there is in fact an adequate supply of oxygen at the Mangrove Cay Clinic.”
Dr Grant-Thompson also told The Tribune that oxygen was not an issue in the case of Ms Bastian and her mother. However, she also made a plea to the government for a permanent clinic.
“When she left here she was stable,” Dr Grant-Thompson said. “We have supplies. This issue was not supplies, it was space in Nassau. We still got her out to Nassau in time.
“I don’t know what transpired when she got to PMH, but the only issue we had was waiting on space in Nassau. You can’t send a patient unless you have somewhere to send them. An ambulance cannot come for a patient unless there is somewhere to take them.
“We do, however, need a clinic. The government knows that already though. We are using a temporary makeshift place. I think they are coming this week to address certain issues we are having. We are in dire need of a clinic.”
A resident of Mangrove Cay claimed that the area had a COVID-19 outbreak. However, Island Administrator Dr Jaqueline Collie was unaware of that claim.
“No, I don’t know of any outbreak of COVID in the area,” she said. “I am just back on the island having travelled on Friday. I’ve just learned about Rosa on my way back here. I won’t have any information on the clinic at this time. I will have to speak to them first.”
The Tribune also spoke to Chris Smith, a relative of Ms Bastian. He reminisced on the kind of person she was.
“Well Rosa is my cousin,” he said. “She was a very nice, Christian who everyone liked. She had a little weight on her, though. I know she and her mother were not feeling well. I own a foodstore and at one point she asked us to come and bring some things to her because she had a feeling that something was going on with her. We carried the stuff to her.
“After that they had to go to the clinic and before we had an opportunity to visit them, they had to go into Nassau. The clinic is in a temporary (location) right now because they are working on another location for it. The staff and government are working hard to get the staff back into the main clinic.”
Because BPL is known to have frequent COVID cases among staff, The Tribune inquired if such were the case at the Mangrove Cay office. Quincy Parker, communications director, denied this.
“We can say that there is no outbreak at the BPL facilities in Mangrove Cay,” he said. “Meanwhile, our prayers and best wishes are with Rosa’s family and friends at this time, and we wish them peace and comfort.”