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I see a nurse coughing up blood - renal patient

Published:Tuesday | April 10, 2018 | 12:00 AMAdrian Frater/News Editor

Western Bureau:

The decision to keep the renal and radiology units on the main building at the problem-plagued Cornwall Regional Hospital in Montego Bay could be fraught with danger as fresh reports have surfaced of at least one nurse coughing up blood while attending to patients in the renal unit.

"This week, one of the nurses attending to us started coughing up blood and her supervisor had to rush in and escort her from the building," said renal patient Marcia Campbell, who said patients were experiencing skin irritation and other ill-effects when they visited the building for dialysis and radiology.

"I know I will probably die if I don't come here twice per week to dialyse, but I am so scared, because as soon as I enter the building, my skin starts itching and my eyes start burning," said Campbell. "My pressure goes up every time it comes time for me to go for treatment."

When The Gleaner brought the matter to the attention of Dr Delroy Fray, the head of clinical operations at the hospital, he noted that while he was unaware of the specific concerns by Campbell, he knew that the area in question was being closely monitored, with a view of taking action should the need arise.

"As you can imagine, that is an area to watch, because the renal unit is separate from the hospital, so we have to monitor it to see if they are going to have any problems. If they are going to have problems, we will have to find an alternative," advised Fray.

"The alternative will be tough for the renal area, because those machines cannot be moved in a day or two. So if we have to close that area, we'll have to find private sourcing outside to do that."

Like Campbell, a nurse who asked not to be identified told The Gleaner yesterday that the nurses are currently paying a heavy price for both their patriotism and their obedience to their calling.

"While I am sorry for myself, at least I get to go home at the end of the day ... . The patients, whether they are in the main building or at the retrofitted nurses' quarters, are being exposed to the contaminants ... . We are talking about microscopic particles, which go wherever the wind blows them," said the nurse. "The sad thing is, no one knows what the long-term effect will be."