Omega Hospital to provide for dire need in Negril
OMEGA MEDICAL Hospital in Negril, Westmoreland, has been described as a game-changer in the field of healthcare services by patients, medical practitioners, and the business community, having successfully performed its first surgery last week.
Located along Norman Manley Boulevard, the 14-bed Omega Medical Hospital, which had its soft opening last Friday, January 20, is equipped with a state-of-the-art operating theatre, a laboratory, a pharmacy, a radiology department and an X-ray department. The hospital will provide primary and tertiary healthcare services to the community of Negril and its environs.
Dr Delroy Fray, clinical psychologist at the Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA), says many more lives will be saved now that Negril has its own First World medical hospital.
Dr Fray, who is also a surgeon, says given its strategic location, trauma care will be elevated to new heights in the region at the hospital that is being operated by Dr Dale Foster; his wife, Dr Sonia King Foster; and Dr Dolton James.
“I want you to understand the significance of this hospital. Omega Medical is going to be the gap that is going to transform trauma care in western Jamaica to the highest level,” Dr Fray said, referencing the distance and the time it takes to get a patient from Negril to either the Savanna-la-Mar Public General Hospital or the Noel Holmes Hospital in Lucea, Hanover.
“Negril should be proud. This is where we have taken it from now. We are at a First World level as it relates to medical care here in western Jamaica,” Dr Fray declared.
“(Do) you believe if there is a major accident you could get to a facility within one hour? No. How many patients have been compromised because of the distance of that transfer,” he questioned.
“You now realise the compromise the patients here would have had because they would not have reached intensive care within the golden hour,” he continued.
Anthony Jackson, a resident of Negril, said that Omega Medical is a shelter from the shortcomings of public hospitals.
“It is so convenient for us to come here and do our business, check our health because public hospitals, you know what they are like. We appreciate this, the first one in Negril, and we will support it and hope it grows,” Jackson shared.
Jackson has so far utilised the hospital for blood tests and a CT scan.
“I haven’t seen anything wrong yet, but when it comes up I’ll tell you,” Jackson added, sharing that “if life were a thing that money could buy, the rich would have it and the poor would die”.
Clayton Smith, principal of Grange Hill Primary School, lauded the presence of the hospital, especially in relation to the frequency of motorbikes and other vehicular accidents in that resort space.
“In fact, this hospital is going to be able to cover some of that and will be able to do much more. I believe that some lives will be spared,” said Smith.
“My friend had an accident on the beach road, and by the time they got to Savanna-la-Mar, he was dead. If they had a hospital quite closer, I’m sure he would be alive now,” Smith theorised.
The school administrator said that most of the residents in Negril have been travelling either to Savanna-la-Mar or Lucea to get tertiary and other significant services.
“If you need to do an X-ray, anything with labs, radiology, and so forth, everybody has to go to one of the parish capitals. Therefore, having a hospital in Negril is important.”
Elaine Allen-Bradley, the newly-minted president of the Negril Chamber of Commerce, told The Gleaner that Negril is on the move with its own state-of-the-art hospital and high-end supermarket brand.
“This hospital is long overdue. We have waited for a long time, and today, we the local and business community will utilise the services being offered there. It is our hospital, and we must be proud of what we have here,” said Allen-Bradley.