Special request for a positive column, Voila!

Aruba should be super proud of the recent evacuation of 64 dialysis patients from SXM, and their reception here.

In total two flights, remember the airport in SXM is crippled, so this must have been a military operation, landed here, delivering patients in poor condition, in dire need of medical assistance.

Most of the patients arriving here require dialysis every second day, and because of Hurricane Irma and the destruction of the hospital in SXM, they were getting into a critical situation.

Apparently, without an inch of red tape, the health authorities on both islands were able to talk to each other, not a single politician involved, no picture opportunities, no press releases, just a fast and efficient collaboration with the pure and honorable goal of saving lives and helping fellow-islanders in distress.

As soon as patients landed here, they were greeted at the airport at a special staging area, by a team of nurses and doctors, who assessed their condition on the spot.

Mind you, the same people who worked all day, worked all night, some until 3am. As you know, we have no extra nurses and doctors.

It’s the same old ones on all shifts.

Patients in better shape were sent to IMSAN, in SN, and the ones in more stressful circumstances were referred to HOH, in Eagle.

Dr. Joel Rajnherc told me that for the first time in the history of our usually-lackadaisical state-of-preparedness, Aruba mobilized ten fully equipped and prepared ambulances and first responders, 4 working at the airport, 3 on the road for traffic emergencies, one at Palo Marga for a car race and two additional first responder vehicles, as backups.

We used our brains and hearts, the good doctor says, and received excellent all-around cooperation.

We should all remember that once the adrenaline settles, this rescue operation is long term. The hospital in SXM is kaput. Dr Rajnherc is hoping some of the nurses would be able to come to Aruba to lend a hand because the just-arrived patients must receive ongoing treatment in addition to the islands own patients.

The dialysis facilities in SN includes 18 chairs, and at HOH 21 chairs, plus 2 in intensive care. That means triple shifts for the nurses and doctors in charge. The same old ones on all shifts.

One more feather in our cap: The health authority contacted AHATA on Thursday night. They were looking for 64 rooms. Vanessa Rasmussen, AHATA, did a great job coordinating the hotels response. The hotels volunteered the rooms in about one hour. Amsterdam Manor, Tropicana Resort and The Mill Resort offered the most, but almost all of the hotels opened their hearts and doors.

Heartfelt condolences are sent to family members of the one dialysis patient who did not make it, arriving on Aruba deceased. A reminder of the miraculous nature of a truly fast response.

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September 11, 2017
Rona Coster