Mon | Jan 20, 2020

KPH lights to be installed this month – SERHA

Published:Sunday | August 4, 2019 | 12:31 AMNadine Wilson-Harris - Staff Reporter
Wentworth Charles, chairman of the South East Regional Health Authority.
Wentworth Charles, chairman of the South East Regional Health Authority.

Chairman of the South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA), Wentworth Charles, has assured that the non-functioning lights in two of the main operating theatres at the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH) will be installed this month.

This assurance follows revelations by a medical practitioner at the institution that the lights in operating theatre three have been out for about three years, and that one of the lights in operating theatre four is also not working, which was reported in last week’s Sunday Gleaner.

Charles, who took over as chairman for the regional authority two months ago, said the lights are currently being procured.

“It is important to note that these lights, the operating theatre lights, are not really shelved items and we have to go through our suppliers, but we understand that by the second week in August, the lights for operating theatres three and four should be in the island and should be installed,” he told The Sunday Gleaner on Friday.

However, last week’s Sunday Gleaner reported that Colleen Wright, chief executive officer at the Type A hospital, stated that the required light for operating room three had, in fact, been procured, and the procurement process had started to get a light to replace the non-functioning one in operating theatre four.

“For operating theatre three, the light is here in the island. It has been procured and it will be installed shortly. There are some provisional works that need to be done before the installation, but it is going to be installed shortly,” she was reported as saying.

“For operating theatres one and two, the lights are relatively new and have been functioning. Of course, from time to time things might happen, but they are new and are functioning. There might be some problems sometimes, but they are functioning.”

KPH has nine operating theatres. Two of these theatres were refurbished and fitted with four lights that were procured late last year.

NO EXCUSE

President of the Jamaica Medical Doctors’ Association, Dr Elon Thompson, had noted that in addition to the non-functioning lights in operating theatres three and four, the lights in operating theatres one and two are malfunctioning. Doctors have been forced to use their personal headlights to provide illumination while doing surgeries.

“There are operations now that occur in that same operating room (three) that are taking place, and the surgeons are the ones who bring their equipment. We have told administration multiple times that the surgeons, myself included, would like to stop bringing our equipment,” a frustrated Dr Thompson told The Sunday Gleaner last week.

“These are just not adequate for operating on people who have medical conditions. It is not appropriate. The theatres need to be outfitted with World Health Organization standardised operating room lights that need to be functional and be used for all patient procedures that require it.”

The SERHA chairman admitted that there was no excuse for the lights not being replaced in a timely manner, although lights do go bad for varying reasons.

“There is no excuse because as an institution, you should have the capacity to maintain and service these lights in a timely manner so that doctors can carry out their work effectively and efficiently. There have been challenges with our maintenance department in some respect and that has been addressed, particularly at Kingston Public Hospital, where we have employed recently two new maintenance engineers,” Charles said.

nadine.wilson@gleanerjm.com