By LEANDRA ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
KIM Sturrup experienced a daughter’s worst nightmare on Saturday after being told her mother’s caretaker would not be allowed to leave her home to clean her mother’s painful wounds due to the country being on full lockdown.
Speaking to The Tribune yesterday, Mrs Sturrup said her 86-year-old mother, who has been bedridden for two years, needs her wounds cleaned and bandages changed by trained professionals daily.
“The community nurse comes three times a week, but of course they’re tied up right now (and) that’s understandable and so what the caretaker does, she was trained to pat the wound and to clean it out,” Mrs Sturrup said.
“(However), when she was coming out on Saturday, they told her that ‘no, they were on full lockdown”.
On Friday, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis ordered two day shutdown of all services that began 8pm that night and ends 5am today. Under the shutdown, people were ordered to remain in their homes.
The new order did not apply to hospitals, hotels with guests, the Royal Bahamas Police Force and Defence Forces, OPBAT, security companies, media personnel and essential workers for Bahamas Power and Light and the Water and Sewerage Corporations.
To quickly rectify the issue, Mrs Sturrup said she called the Royal Bahamas Police Force command centre to assure them her mother’s caregiver should be considered as an essential worker.
But Mrs Sturrup said officials refused to give approval for the caregiver to leave her home.
“I was just frantic because my mom has ulcers, bed ulcers,” she told The Tribune. “I sent a WhatsApp message and I sent it twice and finally they responded to me and said ‘no, it’s a full lockdown’.
“Again, I was trying to explain to them that her wounds need packing and the response was ‘no, we’re in full lockdown’.
Desperate for help, Mrs Sturrup said she also sent emails to police officials to gain approval for the caretaker’s visit.
“So, like the first (curfew), I wrote to the commissioner and they gave me the email and I wrote to him. (But), no response,” she said.
“Second time, like it said in the WhatsApp, they said to email or send a WhatsApp. I emailed and sent a WhatsApp and no response from the email and then in WhatsApp I finally got a message saying, ‘no we in full lockdown.’”
With no other options, Mrs Sturrup said she was left with no choice but to call a police friend, who was later able to assist her with the matter.
“I got the approval through a friend of mine who is also a police officer and who called up to command centre and got the approval last night, I think it was.”
Noting that she did “her best” to assist her mother, Mrs Sturrup said it wasn’t until Sunday morning until she got full approval from officials.
Still, Mrs Sturrup said: “This says to me that one, that all essential workers need to be properly identified by the government.”
She continued: “Who are caregivers, who are caretakers, essential workers and what are their roles? That’s not been established?
“...They have to name them because when I looked at the last emergency order, it was BPL and Water and Sewerage and the hospital. There was nothing to say about the caretakers who are dealing with critically ill patients in private homes, etc.”
Mrs Sturrup said while she supports the measures issued by Dr Minnis to combat the spread of COVID-19, she feels that the orders should be made clearer.
She said: “At least say come and register at the police station and we will then give your caretaker or give you a letter stamped and approved by the government or the commissioner of police that their movement is noted and the reason as to why.”