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Social Media Misinformation Instilled Fear in People, Dr. Eugene-Ford

Medical Director of the Respiratory Hospital, Dr. Alisha Eugene-Ford, yesterday said that misinformation circulating on social media about the state of the hospital instilled fear in many individuals.

Dr. Alisha Eugene-Ford
Dr. Alisha Eugene-Ford

“During the last wave we had so many persons thinking if you come to Victoria Hospital you’re going to die although we had more than 80% recoveries, but we had deaths and persons were very worried about the deaths. One of the things we can say for sure from our data (is) that a lot of persons who came to the hospital and passed away, especially in the last wave, were not vaccinated,” Eugene-Ford said.

“We also realized there was a delay (in persons) coming to the hospital (and) it could very well be (because of) what was circulating on social media. Most persons were getting social media messages where persons were saying there’s not enough staff (at the hospital and) you’re going to die—a lot of different things that really caused fear and anxiety in the population, so a lot of persons were staying at home trying to treat themselves despite the fact that their symptoms were getting really bad,” Eugene-Forde added, stating that that proved to be detrimental in many cases.

She said staff at the Respiratory Hospital are working on providing a better experience for patients and their family members, and also said that the Respiratory Hospital wants to resume its outpatient clinic, which has great benefits.

“If they (patients) are (afraid) to come to the hospital, we need to do (what is necessary) to improve to ensure that they have a better experience,” the medical director noted.

“(The) medical outpatient clinic is something we had started in the earlier waves where we wanted to follow up (on) the cases that (were) being discharged. We all know that COVID-19 is a new illness and as a result we treat people in the hospital, but we always wonder how they are doing after (they have been) discharged. We want to make sure we have sufficient information about this new illness and the medical outpatient clinic allowed us to follow up patients that were already discharged,” she said, admitting that the presence of the Delta variant proved to be a challenge.

“The Delta variant made it a bit difficult for us to continue this because we had to have all our staff on board taking care of persons; we’re also looking to do our physiotherapy outpatient clinic,” Eugene-Forde said.

She also spoke about their swabbing clinic which is a new addition to the hospital. According to Eugene-Forde, “we decided to open a swabbing clinic where you can come to get registered and get swabbed, sent home and followed up thereafter, so that is something different from what we did in the fourth wave.”

She said that during the fourth wave, 826 patients were admitted to the Respiratory Hospital and that 80% of these cases were discharged.

“During this fifth wave from 16th December until now, we have 383 patients being admitted and we are seeing a similar trend of recovery of more than 80% of our patients recovering thus far,” Eugene-Ford said.

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