Crash victim dies before getting critical surgery

April 20, 2021
Howard Bruce
Howard Bruce

Meisha Cope, niece of Howard 'Macka' Bruce, was greeted with the most disappointing news on Monday morning that the 54-year-old had succumbed to his injuries after being hit by a bus last Saturday.

Bruce's fate was in limbo since the accident. His relatives were hoping to have him transferred from the Savanna-la-Mar Public General Hospital to either the Cornwall Regional or Kingston Public Hospital for life-saving surgery. However, they said that a shortage of beds in the institutions proved to be a fatal obstacle.

A scan that was done on Bruce revealed that he had a blood clot in the brain, and surgery, which could not have been performed at Savanna-la-Mar was his best chance of survival.

"The healthcare system has failed us," Cope cried. "My uncle is gone!"

Jamaica's public health sector has been buckling under the weight of the COVID-19 virus, which has been spreading throughout the country. Hospital have been rescheduling elective surgeries, healthcare workers have been complaining of burn-out and fatigue, and there are hardly empty beds in many institutions.

Severe strain

Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton had revealed that the rise in COVID-19 cases was putting a severe strain on the country's health resources. Several hospitals had reached their hospitalisation capacity as the COVID-19 numbers continue to soar. Jamaica, as of Sunday, has 316 persons with COVID-19 on hospital beds.

The connection between the high number of COVID-19 cases and the country's ability to treat non-COVID patients has not escaped Cope's attention. She is convinced that her uncle would have had a fighting chance had the COVID-19 numbers not been so high.

"Those people running around spreading the virus are causing us great pain because the beds are limited and it's hurting innocent people," she said.

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