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What Caused Poisoning Of 49 Students On Bus Journey?

The scene outside Princess Margaret Hospital on Friday.

The scene outside Princess Margaret Hospital on Friday.

By KHRISNA RUSSELL

Deputy Chief Reporter

krussell@tribunemedia.net

TWO Central Andros High School students remain at the Princess Margaret Hospital for further monitoring following suspected carbon monoxide poisoning on a school bus Friday.

According to the Ministry of Health yesterday, the remaining 47 students, the bus driver and parents/guardians have returned to Fresh Creek, Andros.

The Tribune was told yesterday that the Ministry of Education has launched a separate investigation into this situation.

On Friday morning, the group fell ill and was treated at the Fresh Creek Andros Clinic. Several of them went in an out of consciousness and experienced confusion, chest pain, shortness of breath and dizziness – symptoms typical of carbon monoxide poisoning.

They were then sent to the capital for additional treatment as a precautionary measure.

What took place to ensure everyone was out of harm’s way was “nothing short of amazing,” Health Minister Dr Duane Sands said in a Facebook post on Saturday.

“The clinic staff at Fresh Creek, Andros quickly and competently assessed and managed the clinical issues,” Dr Sands wrote. “They were assisted by personnel from all over Andros, including the US military at AUTEC.

“Additional help and oxygen was provided. Families were kept informed. Air evacuation teams flew flight after flight until all 49 students, bus driver and family members could be thoroughly reviewed at PMH. An army of EMTs ensured that they were safely transferred to and fro.”

Once at Princess Margaret Hospital, Dr Sands said medical teams initiated PMH’s mass casualty protocol.

“Staff emerged to quickly and expertly manage the needs of these youngsters. Patient advocate teams and Ministry of Education staff attended to the concerns and needs of all the families. By evening, it was clear that all were going to be OK.

“While 11 students remained hospitalised, they were in good spirits. Today, another team at South Beach Clinic gave a final checkup and most, 46, are now safely back home. I am extremely proud and grateful for the professionalism and the compassion shown by all.

“I can say confidently that I, Minister Jeff Lloyd and the entire Cabinet are pleased with the manner in which this unfortunate event was managed. The prime minister monitored the situation throughout. Thank you all.

“We might be down, Bahamas...but still we rise,” Dr Sands wrote. 

The ministry did not provide details regarding test results to confirm whether carbon monoxide was to blame for the incident.

In an interview with The Tribune on Friday, one parent, who did not want to be named, claimed she was frustrated because at that point she had not seen her daughter because she was in observation.

Sheree Neymour, another parent and mother of three of the students on the bus, said the situation could have been a lot worse, referring to the “deplorable” conditions of the roads in Andros.

Comments

John 2 months, 1 week ago

Based on government's recent decision to keep residents away from Abaco, government should ban all students and the general public from riding on similar buses ntil the cause of the poisoning has been identified.

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Sickened 2 months, 1 week ago

That type of poisoning can cause very serious and permanent brain damage. I really hope that none suffered any long term effects.

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