COVID-19: Nurses at Palms protest for protective gears


By Isanella Patoir

Nurses from the Palms Geriatric Home located at Brickdam, Georgetown are calling on the Ministry of Public Health to provide them with protective gears in light of the patient there who died from COVID-19 recently.

The nurses in a standoff Friday told the News Room that they are fearful of contracting the disease.

The elderly COVID-19 patient was bedridden for the past 16 years at the Home.

It remains unclear how he may have contracted the disease.  There are 102 nurses employed at the Home along with three on-call doctors who care for 198 patients.

The nurses are concerned given the fact that the patient was only tested after he died on May 1 but they were not informed of his results until Thursday – May 8 – after the News Room reported that he was the 10th COVID-19 death and had been a patient at the Palms.

The News Room observed health officials in their protective gear getting set to test persons at the institution. [Photo: News Room]
The Ministry of Public Health only announced the death on May 5 but did not provide any information about the victim; the News Room had to rely on its medical sources for the information.

“We were told yesterday [Thursday] that the patient died from COVID-19. Now no one did not inform us until we were called to a meeting and we were told that the 10th victim was from this institution,” a nurse who prefers to remain anonymous told reporters.

The meeting was organised by officials from the Ministries of Public Health and Social Protection and the Home’s Administrator, Samantha Douglas.

The nurse explained that the patient visited the Georgetown Public Hospital three times prior to his death. He had a damaged liver.

“The three times he went, we want to know why they didn’t test him before to know if he had the virus.

“We really want to know what going on cause everybody is at risk now,” the nurse said.

The News Room understands that 14 employees from the Institution were placed on home quarantine; they worked on the ward with the patient.

The Palms Geriatric Home [Photo: News Room]
“Now they are assigning other nurses to work there without any protective gear. So we are here now standing off…they are telling staff that they have to go there and work and they have no protective gears…so now the nurse decide to sit out because it’s unfair,” the nurse said.

On Friday, the News Room observed health officials in their protective gear getting set to test persons at the institution.

The nurses are calling for the intervention of the Public Health Ministry rather than the Ministry of Social Protection which has responsibility for the Institution.

“We need the Ministry of Health to come in and deal with this matter, Ministry of Social Protection would not make sense. We need protected gears, we need the soup kitchen to stop bringing people to collect soup, we need construction to cease right now…that is what we need right now,” the nurse stated.


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