Thu | Oct 19, 2017

Thieves prey on KPH - Wheelchairs scrapped minutes after being donated to the hospital

Published:Saturday | August 19, 2017 | 12:00 AMErica Virtue
Joan Walker-Nicholson, director of nursing services, Kingston Public Hospital, shows one of the wheelchairs without its tyres during a tour of the hospital on Wednesday.
CEO of the Kingston Public Hospital Errol Greene points to one of the wheelchairs vandalised at the hospital.
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Unscrupulous individuals are endangering the lives of persons at the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH) as they steal the covers of manholes and parts of the wheelchairs used to transport patients.

A fuming CEO of the hospital, Errol Greene, last Wednesday confirmed that the majority of 20 wheelchairs donated by Food For The Poor recently were vandalised within half an hour of the handover.

"One morning, I was walking on the wards and I saw this wheelchair without any tyres. So I called the porter and asked what's going on. I was told that the tyres were stolen. I called a Sister. She said, 'Mr Green, we got 20 of these wheelchairs and within half an hour of them being handed over to us, every tyre and tube was stolen from the wheelchairs'," said an angry Greene.

He noted that the wheels are perfect fits for bicycles and can be removed without using any equipment. Footrests have also been stolen from the wheelchairs, forcing the hospital to fashion replacements from cloth.

Several other items are being repeatedly stolen from the hospital, including the covers of electrical outlets and manhole covers.

 

Putting people at risk

 

"I had a meeting with my technical staff yesterday (Tuesday) and the electrician told me that the covers were removed. People come in the hospital with screw drivers and remove the covers, leaving people at risk and the hospital with the possibility of lawsuits," said Greene.

"I could not believe when the electrician told me, because (here) I am bashing them to say there are some things we need to do to improve the place. We are getting citations from the fire department, asking why so many plugs are uncovered.

"We have electric beds and people cut off the cords," noted Greene.

He pointed out that the manhole covers were dirt cheap and he was at a loss as to why they would be stolen.

"It's a constant headache that we have to be monitoring. Toilet seats and toilet tank covers have also been pilfered," said Greene.