Doctor criticises lack of COVID treatment at Rand


Tribune Freeport Reporter


A well-known private physician in Freeport has criticised the lack of treatment for COVID patients hospitalised at the Rand.

Dr Kevin Bethel has claimed patients are being discharged from hospital with “no basic treatment”, and still experience some symptoms, and complications such as reduced lung function and stroke. He also noted there are cases of reinfection.

The doctor said COVID can cause a 30 percent reduction in lung function, but that treatment with Acetylcysteine, which can be obtained as a prescription, or over the counter, is cheap and effective in treating the disease. “It is pennies for the pills; it is available over the counter and as a prescription; it is safe and has no side effects - it is just amazing,” he has said.

Other prescription drug options are Persantine, Soliris, and hydroxychloroquine, Dr Bethel said.

Dr Lockhart said COVID positive patients and suspects admitted to the hospital are only receiving “supportive care.”

“Most of the care COVID patients, positive and suspects, are receiving now is supportive care, in absence of any definitive treatment that we have available,” he said.

“A lot of them who require treatment as such usually get oxygen of some kind, whether it is something to supplement or high-level ventilation; a few require intubation, but very few in GB; and hydration. That is the extent of treatment for COVID, but there is also the concern of superimposed infections, and that usually results in additional antibiotic therapy where there is the concern of possible bacterial infections.”

Dr Bethel has raised issue with the treatment some patients are receiving, claiming that some patients are being given Augmentin, an antibiotic, which is useless in treating COVID-19 symptoms.

In response to this, Dr Freeman Lockhart, Chief of Services, Surgery, and Consultant at Rand Memorial Hospital agreed antibiotics are not effective for any viral infection. But he said: “You have to keep in mind in the case of COVID-related patient case there is always the concern of possible bacterial infection. And where clinicians are concern about a possible bacterial infection, they will always initiate bacterial treatment which is antibiotics.”

Concerning complications caused by COVID-19, Dr Lockhart said there are vascular complications as it relates to COVID infections that can cause delayed complications such as vasculitis, and also the lung infection that results from the scarring from COVID that later causes difficulty with breathing and problems with ventilation as a result of underlying COVID infections.

“Those are some of the complications that we are seeing and reading about and we anticipate down the road for patients who have COVID infection,” he said.

During the Prime Minister’s visit to Freeport on Monday Dr Lockhart, Chief of Services he reported that there are currently10 cases in total in hospital on Grand Bahama. Of those, he said seven are positive patients and three are COVID suspects who are awaiting results.

He said: “What we are seeing in GB… since mid-late July which would have been the start of the second surge in GB to present, is a 75 percent drop in COVID-related cases presenting to the emergency room. That is quite significant since mainly, the number of hospital beds is not at risk.”

“We were at a point in late July and early August where we were concerned about the capacity here in GB,” he said. And that’s when we saw a maximum of COVID-related cases, both positive and suspected cases, and our capacity was not able to sustain the number of patients.

“We are thankful for what we are seeing now is a decline in patients. As a result, concern as it relates to capacity in GB has settled.”

As of September 4, 2020, there have been 584 cases of COVID-19 recorded on Grand Bahama. After July 1 following the reopening of the borders, Grand Bahama had experienced an exponential surge in coronavirus infections, and at one point had surpassed the number of cases in New Providence, and was classified as a hot spot for coronavirus infections due to increased community spread at the time.


treatmentworries 1 year, 11 months ago

I really hope that the Ministry of Health will provide some information to the general public about this worrisome matter. Is this the cause of our high levels of death? are the medications not available in the Bahamas? if they are available why opt for the most conservative line when lives are at stake? Please let us know what is going on? what options do we have?


Economist 1 year, 11 months ago

So why are the patients not receiving "basic treatment"? It would seem that Dr. Lockhart knows but doesnot want to expose the Ministry of Healths incompetence.

Thank you Dr. Bethel, for bringing this to light.


rosiepi 1 year, 11 months ago

Hydroxychloroquine has been debunked as a viable treatment for Covid, studies have shown that using this drug impacted the recovery and health of those patients who received it. Dr Bethel speaks of speculative drug treatments, not mentioning those that have shown promise, corticosteroids like Dexamethasone are cheap, and a major UK trial has shown its promise reducing death on ventilated patients by 30% and those rec'g oxegyn by 20%. There is also Remdesivir, but the initial hype is slowing as complications and problems arise the latest study showed patients died at the same rate on it or not. And a 5 day treatment is over $2000. There are other drug studies in the works convalescent-plasma therapy is another, that are more promising than those Dr Bethel is hyping, frankly I wonder if he just wants to see his name in print...


joeblow 1 year, 11 months ago

... and despite HCQ being "debunked" many doctors around the world are still using it because they are getting results. There are even doctors who have been using it prophylactically. One never knows what role big pharma is playing in influencing the avoidance of cheaper treatments for more expensive ones. From what I have read, when a drug is started is key to its effectiveness!



The_Oracle 1 year, 11 months ago

Dr Bethel is a very quiet and unassuming person, as genuine as they come. One of our greatest failings in Bahamian society and politics, shooting the messenger. When the world settles on a proven treatment, we can throw rocks. I'd prefer a proven treatment over waiting for a vaccine that may never come.


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