Claudia Gardner, Gleaner Writer
St Mary-based radiologist Han Yi (right) demonstrates the correct way to operate the new X-ray machine at the Port Maria Hospital in St. Mary while members of the hospital's medical staff and Couples look on. At third left is State Minister in the office of the Prime Minister and MP for Western St Mary, Robert Montague. - Photo by Claudia Gardner
PORT MARIA, St Mary:
The St Mary-based Couples Ocho Rios resort officially handed over a new high-tech X-ray machine valued at US$45,000 to the Port Maria Public General Hospital on Friday.
According to general manager of the resort, Leonard Henry, the donation materialised through the efforts of multiple repeat guests at the property, Gene and Jane Saks and Dr. Bob Gwynn, through the Rotary Club of Lake Wales in Florida.
The hospital was without the use of an X-ray machine for more than three years after the passage of Hurricane Ivan which badly damaged the previous one.
According to St Mary-based radiographer Han Yi, the machine is designed to conduct routine examinations of the chest, abdomen lumbar spine and upper level and lower level fracture cases.
"This machine is powerful. The one before was a very old machine and it was not safe as sometimes there was leakage. This one is brand new and it has the automatic exposure timer, so it saves time," he said.
The hotel also refurbished the X-ray department building, which had been damaged by the hurricane, to the tune of J$250,000 and donated an electro-cardiograph (ECG) machine valued at J$280,000 and also provided the US$5,000 matching grant for the purchase of the X-ray machine.
June Thyme, chief executive officer at the Port Maria Hospital, told The Gleaner that the burden of travel and cost for residents of Port Maria and its environs will be diminished.
"We would have to access service from the Annotto Bay Hospital or St Ann's Bay Hospital. They (citizens) did complain at times but, because of their situation, they would have to go there. Accessibility is right here and so there are no more challenges to find extra bus fare to go to St Ann's Bay or Annotto Bay.
"However the fact still remains that we will, for now, only be able to access service twice per week until we have our own radiographer," she said.