Sun | Aug 20, 2017

Big bucks for stretchers

Published:Friday | September 23, 2016 | 9:00 AMShayne Fairman

LOCAL High schools wishing to purchase stretchers as part of their medical equipment for football matches could be called on to fork out as much as $70,000 plus tax.

The two types of stretchers used are the wheeled (gurney, trolley, bed or cart) or the basic cot that must be carried by two or more people.

The issue of having stretchers as part of schools' medical equipment at matches was thrown into the spotlight on Tuesday, when Dominic James, captain of St George's College, collapsed during a Manning Cup match against Excelsior High at the Stadium East field. The player was lifted off the field by four men.

The 18-year-old, who would have celebrated his 19th birthday on Monday, was seen by medical staff from the school then transported to the University Hospital of the West Indies, where he died.

Checks done by The Gleaner yesterday revealed that the best stretchers are not available in bulk locally, and it could take up to six weeks to get supplies from overseas.

 

SPIKE IN DEMAND

 

Jamaica Hospital Supplies, which sells health care equipment and supplies for hospitals in the Corporate Area, said the demand for stretchers went up after James' sudden death.

The manual stretchers (cots) are the length-wise fold type and could cost up to $63,100 plus tax. According to a senior employee, who wished to remain anonymous, they were down to just 10 stretchers.

"There has been a spike in orders since yesterday," the employee said, adding that schools were among the institutions rushing to place orders.

Another Corporate Area-based firm, Medical Disposables and Supplies Limited, said they wouldn't have a vast quantity of stretchers in stock, but once schools submit an order, they could source the equipment.

Managing Director Mertis Boothe said if a school needed a stretcher, the institution would be asked to decide on the type it would need.

"We would have to bring them in as they are not manufactured in Jamaica," Boothe said.