UHWI praying for peace in August Town
Doctors at the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI), especially those based in the Accident and Emergency (A&E) Unit, are keeping their fingers crossed that violent criminal activities in the communities near the hospital will remain low for the rest of this year, lessening the demand for emergency services at the facility.
When our news team visited the hospital, located in Mona, St Andrew, last Wednesday, Dr Romayne Edwards, consultant in the A&E Unit, observed that with 22 patients in the unit, that was a good day.
She said Mondays are usually the worst days for the unit.
"We call them 'Horror Mondays'. It (A&E) is usually inundated, as most individuals tend to leave their illnesses until after the weekend. So you will have all cubicles full, and others waiting on the outside in wheelchairs. Others are sometimes treated from stretchers," said Edwards.
She pointed to a correlation between the demand for emergency services and the level of crime in the nearby communities.
"We have noticed that when violence is down in communities such as Tavern, August Town, Hermitage and Barbican, there is less demand for emergency services at A&E. And we are already feeling the impact of the slight upsurge in recent times in August Town," said Edwards.
CRIME-FREE AUGUST TOWN GOOD FOR UHWI
"Believe me, a crime-free August Town is good for us. When there is violence it affects the ability of staff to come to work. It impacts patient numbers, as we are already overcrowded and the violence is down," added Edwards.
In January, residents of August Town celebrated a crime-free 2016 with cheerful music, domino competition, and happy children romping in green spaces - activities which were previously abandoned as a result of crime and violence.
But shortly after the festivities ended, Damion Lewis, a resident of Love Lane, Kingston 14, was fatally shot while walking in the community with a friend.
Since then the community, which sits next door the hospital, has recorded six more murders and several other violent incidents.