The echocardiograph (ECG) machine destroyed after a fire ripped through the echocardiography laboratory at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) will cost at least $20 million to be replaced.
This is according to the Minister of Health Dr. Frank Anthony, who visited the scene of the fire hours after it was brought under control.
He explained that this machine is used quite often to provide routine heart tests for patients. And without it, there will be a reduction in the services that can be offered to patients.
With this high cost and the need to source the machine from manufacturers aboard, Dr. Anthony said it will take some time before the machine can be procured.
The Health Minister also noted that the local health authorities had planned to restart a children’s cardiac programme but without this machine, that programme would now be delayed by several months.
Preliminary reports suggest that the fire was an act of arson. While a motive remains unclear, Dr. Anthony lauded the quick action from the nurses on duty since they detected the fire quickly and were able to save 11 patients, including those who are critically ill.
There were seven patients in the cardiac Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and four more in another ICU. Some of these patients were unable to move by themselves and were directly impacted by the cloud of smoke emanating from the burning laboratory.
Had the nurses not been able to move the patients quickly, Dr. Anthony said that they could have been harmed if the fire had spread to their ICUs.
“Because of their prompt action we have minimised the damage here,” Dr. Anthony said.