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Health Ministry to the Rescue, Vital Machine Handed to St. Jude


Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Sharon Belmar – George is pleased with the donation of an anesthesia machine to St Jude Hospital.

“I don’t think you understand what… this means,” she told attendees at a handing over ceremony Wednesday.

“On the evening of January 26 when I got the call that the anesthesia machine at St Jude Hospital was not working, that night I barely slept. It was one of the most miserable nights for me knowing what it meant for health care in the south and I think my messages to the permanent secretary (indicated) the urgency with which we need to provide a level of support especially as it relates to St. Jude,” Belmar-George said.

According to Belmar-George, “the situation that came about (with) the anesthesia machine not working further compounded the situation… why we needed to look a little closer at the situation with St Jude.”

The new machine, which was donated by the Ministry of Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs, will improve the quality of care offered at St. Jude, according to the hospital’s medical director.

“An anesthesia machine is a key piece of equipment used every day in the operating room. It delivers anesthesia and oxygen to patients while monitoring their blood pressure, pulse and temperature. An anesthesia machine can also be converted quickly into a ventilator for patients undergoing surgeries who may need to be given ventilatory support.  I am certain that our operating room staff and our surgeons are elated and welcome the use of this new machine,” Dr. Sybil Naitrum-James (St. Jude’s medical director) said at the handing over ceremony.

“As a service provider to the public, we embrace this anesthesia machine with pride knowing that it will improve on the quality of care we offer our patients. I thank the Ministry of Health for its continued generosity and response to our needs here at St. Jude Hospital,” she added.

The CMO, in her remarks, spoke on the importance of the donation.  She said she wants the donation to reflect the commitment the Ministry has to the ward health approach.

Belmar-George also noted that “we have to ensure quality care for the entire island whether it be a statutory organization or not, we have to ensure that support is given.”

“Most persons don’t know the level …. I work with Dr. Naitrum (when) it comes to resolving a lot of the issues and ensuring a level of clinical support and standards (at) St Jude. Having Ms (Lydia) Atkins join the team—I think everybody knows Ms Atkins and her determination to getting things done and making sure it’s done properly. (It) definitely adds to it coming through a lot faster,” she said.

Health Minister Moses Jn Baptiste also praised the staff at St. Jude, who, according to him, continue to endure despite the conditions at the hospital.  Government, however, will ensure that they assist staff as much as possible, he indicated.

“When we came into government we promised that we would return the St Jude Hospital to the original site, and that while we are preparing the site, we would do all in our power to ensure that the service at the St Jude Hospital continues (in) an upward trend… (that)  the quality of service continues to be improved and that we would give the St Jude Hospital as much assistance as we could,” the minister said.

“I am very pleased to be here this morning to continue the expression of our commitment as a government to quality service and healthcare at the St. Jude Hospital. I want to thank all of the health professionals, the ancillary staff and all those who continue to support the St. Jude Hospital in this difficult time,” he added.

According to him, an anesthesia machine is undoubtedly one of the most important machines in a hospital “as it helps doctors sedate their patients before surgery and keeps them asleep while breathing throughout the procedure… it primarily functions to help reduce pain during a medical operation. The advanced anesthesia machine will greatly assist the St Jude Hospital in the surgical care area.”


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