Crash victim’s life in limbo due to bed shortage

April 19, 2021
Howard Bruce
Howard Bruce

A 54-year-old man who was badly injured in a motor vehicle accident on Saturday has been unable to obtain a critical surgery due to what his family members say is a shortage of beds in the country's two hospitals.

Howard Bruce was hit by a bus along the Galloway main road in Westmoreland. He was rushed to the Savanna-la-Mar General Hospital and is in critical condition, according to his family members.

Meisha Cope, Bruce's niece, said she was told there are no available beds at two hospitals that have been contacted about performing the surgery on Bruce.

"The entire family is experiencing a gloom of sadness and I think Jamaica's health system has failed us terribly," Cope told THE STAR.

She said a brain scan has revealed that there is a blood clot in Bruce's brain.

"The doctor read the scan this morning and said that the brain is damaged and the surgery is the only thing to be done right now. He never gave us any hope to say they will try to get a bed space or nothing, and that is such a terrible situation," she said

"I have been crying since yesterday and trying to get to private doctors to see if they could assist us. We are even willing to buy a bed if that is the case, or they should even try to put him on the floor, but you can't just leave him to die."

Up to press time last night THE STAR was unable to verify whether the unavailability of beds has been playing a role in Bruce getting the critical surgery. However, Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton has told the country that the rise in COVID-19 cases was putting a severe strain on the country's health resources. As of Saturday, 323 persons were hospitalised due to COVID-19 pandemic. This number, however, has been decreasing as the country records a fall in its positivity rate and the number of infections.

Meanwhile, Cope wants the authorities to be proactive in preventing another accident at the spot where her uncle was hit down.

"It needs some form of signal there for persons to slow down because my uncle just a go across to go work and them hit him. I even asked a police to do something or make a request for a stop light so we don't have that happening again," she said.

The Road Safety Unit said that 121 persons have been killed in 111 fatal crashes since the start of the year. Vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, pedal cyclists, motorcyclists and pillion riders account for 60 per cent of the road users killed since the start of the year.

Other News Stories