Sat | Dec 10, 2016

Sav-la-Mar Hospital gets new EKG machine after patient's death

Published:Thursday | January 29, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Cecelia Campbell-Livingston, Gleaner Writer

A DOCTOR'S anguish at losing a patient because of an out-of-service EKG machine at the Savanna-la-Mar Hospital in Westmoreland last November has resulted in one being bought for the hospital by a set of Good Samaritans in the United States of America.

An electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) is a test that checks for problems with the electrical activity of the heart.

Saddened and distraught that he wasn't able to effectively diagnose the patient's condition, resulting in the patient's death, the concerned doctor called a long-time friend of his, Antoinette Gordon-Hessing of Queens, New York, and unburdened.

Gordon-Hessing, who is from the parish, is a past student of Manning's School and an active member of 'A Heart to Help', an e-organisation that was born out of the need to help the Savanna-la-Mar Hospital and other medical entities in Jamaica.

"How can the doctors function without such basic medical equipment? In a hospital where there is a high volume of trauma patients that visit the ER every day, how can they quickly assess the patient's condition?" questioned Gordon-Hessing. That was the catalyst that inspired her to find a solution to the problem.

Sought Donations

She immediately reached out to fellow founding member of 'A Heart to Help' organisation, Steve McDonald, and together they got into action, reaching out to their 1,800 Facebook membership, seeking donations.

"By the end of December, many of our international members donated money to our PayPal account. We raised enough money to purchase a small machine for the hospital" she told The Gleaner.

Having purchased the EKG machine, her other challenge was how to get the machine shipped to Jamaica. She again turned to social media to find a solution. A fellow Manning's School past student, Florida-based registered nurse Denise Turner, saw the post and immediately offered to help.

A Way Forward

"I was actually on Facebook checking my news feed when I saw a post from Antoinette seeking assistance to ship the EKG machine to Jamaica. Being a health-care professional, I immediately knew the urgency of the situation and went into action. I made a call to a family member in New York and, in less than an hour, God provided us a way forward. Without hesitation, Bob DeSouza from Trans Continental Express Shippers from Queens, NY, offered to handle shipping of the machine to Jamaica at no expense," she said.

The Gleaner spoke with DeSouza, who said charity work is something he does frequently and willingly for various organisations at home and in the diaspora.

"Some of the charity work I have done over the years includes the shipping of merchandise for a number of not-for-profit organisations, governmental entities, high schools and tertiary institutions, and alumni associations based in Jamaica and other Caribbean islands. I have been doing this work for more than 30 years." he said.

rural@gleanerjm.com