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Guyana’s ability for medevac services being questioned – 20th Nov 2012

The problems about Guyana’s inability to adequately carry out medical emergency flights late in the night were recently highlighted when there was the need to air dash a young woman who was brutally slashed to the throat and stomach out of Mabaruma and into the city for life-saving treatment. From all appearances, there was a breakdown of everything to facilitate the flight at the time it was most needed. The young woman eventually died, 9 hours after she was stabilized at the Maburuma Hospital, as she was being brought to the city.

Capitol News understands, that the Doctor who was on duty arrived minutes after being contacted. A first attempt to contact him by phone failed. When he got to the hospital, the young woman was already in a bad state with her intestines protruding and her throat slashed. She was stabilized and prepared for the mercy flight. Mercy was far away.

Reports indicate that after repeated attempts failed to make contact with the Chief Medic in the city to give the okay for the flight, the doctor on duty at Mabaruma made contact with the Guyana Defense Force. The GDF’s Aircorp had its own problems, since the 3 helicopters currently being used are not equipped to fly late at night for long distances. Their Global Positioning System may not be up to date to allow proper navigation, so aircraft help from the GDF was ruled out. An attempt was made to contact private aircraft owners. One owner for a local airline said, while they have the aircraft available at that late hour, they had no pilots available. The GDF was able to provide one pilot to assist but 2 pilots were required. So that too was ruled out.

Eventually, Capitol News understands, that the doctor was left with no choice but to wait on the first flight out of the Mabaruma area. That flight was in the early morning and the young woman died on her way to the city.

The Health Ministry now intends to investigate just how everything went wrong and who’s to blame for the problems. There are a number of airlines that have conducted late night mercy flights in the past. Roraima Airways has been leading the way on that.

Aviation sources say clearly there will be the need for the whole issue to be addressed including those 3 helicopters being used by the army and having them properly equipped to carry out work at all hours of the day.

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