By MALCOLM STRACHAN
THE tragic story of Kenise Darville has been in the spotlight over the past few days and many are wanting to know why we can’t do better when it comes to the care we offer our citizens.
The incident has gained prominence as we were able to see the story told in Kenise’s own words – in a live broadcast on Facebook on January 11.
In that video, she said Princess Margaret Hospital had told her that they would be ordering platelets for her treatment, but then later it was said that they had not been ordered, and they asked her to organise people to donate blood instead.
At the time of writing, that video has been shared 4,800 times, with 3,400 people commenting on it.
Just over a week after that video was broadcast, on January 19, the mother of three died.
Her husband, Jerad Darville, urged people to support the cause his wife was fighting for. He told The Tribune: “Continue to support her and the cause she died fighting for, bringing awareness to issues inside the healthcare system.”
That same day, the family held a press conference in which they said they were seeking answers about what happened.
And it was announced there will indeed be an investigation.
What exactly happened from the point where Kenise made that video until that death needs to be made clear. In the video, she says she is in pain, she says her platelet count is low, and she is clearly frustrated and in distress, but it is difficult to look at that video and think this was a woman who was days from death. What could have happened under the care of Princess Margaret Hospital to take her from a point where she was in pain to where she had passed away? The family needs those answers.
But there is another point that we should ask – and it surrounds the issue of donating blood.
How often do we see shared around on Facebook or Whatsapp appeals for someone in hospital who needs blood to be donated?
A family member gets rushed to hospital and out goes the call for blood – please give to help a mother, a father, a brother, a sister, a cousin.
Occasionally in the media, you will see some press release about a blood drive that brings in a few pints for the blood bank. But it doesn’t seem to happen often
When you do go to the hospital to give blood, there’s never a queue, and the staff, while willing, seem surprised to see you.
In other countries, there are well-established organisations holding regular blood donation sessions to encourage people to regularly donate. It’s a simple process, you give blood then have a drink of tea and a cookie afterwards, then off you go on your way.
This is a simple task that collectively we can routinely include in our lives that would make the lives of others better – or simply save a life.
We can also expand the number of people who are able to donate blood.
Those who have tattoos, for example, are often told they cannot donate – despite guidance in other countries that suggests it is fine for people to donate as long as they have not had the tattoo, or a piercing, done in the past six months.
The US goes further, requiring tattoo artists to be registered facilities to ensure basic standards are met, such as not reusing ink.
The Bahamas also has a considerable number of people living here who come from parts of Europe who find themselves unable to donate because they lived in a country which was affected by variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD) in the past. If you don’t know that name, you might know its nickname – Mad Cow Disease.
The concern was that people who lived in areas affected by Mad Cow Disease might pass on effects in the blood.
This particularly affects people who spent time in the UK between 1980 and 1996, in France and Ireland from 1980-2001, or who received a blood transfusion in those countries any time from 1980 until today.
You can show up, willing to donate blood to help someone out, only for the hospital worker to shake their head and point to a line in the regulations and say no.
However, the Food and Drug Administration in the US has now changed that guidance, saying that people who simply lived in those countries are welcome to give blood now.
There has been no announcement of our own guidance being amended to fit in accordance with the FDA advice – but it is surely something worth exploring.
It’s a simple equation – if more people are able to donate blood, there is a greater chance of there being enough blood supplies in store when someone needs it, especially for those people who might have a rarer blood type.
As well as expanding the base, we should constantly be putting efforts to give blood into the spotlight. People should be celebrated for their efforts in donating – cheered when they become a member of the gallon club and long-standing donors highlighted when they reach landmarks of 25 or 50 donations.
Every single donation can produce three different products – red blood cells, platelets and plasma. Each of those donations can help up to three patients.
And how many people need blood when they go into hospital? According to Doctors Hospital, it’s around one in ten hospitalised patients. That may be a platelet transfusion, it may be blood.
The hospital says: “Those in need include: accident, burn, or trauma victims; cancer patients; transplant recipients; newborn babies and mothers delivering babies; surgery patients; and many more.”
As an investigation is launched into Kenise’s death, there is obviously much that we as citizens cannot do other than wait for answers. But collectively we can make a difference when it comes to donating blood.
The government can investigate lifting such limits as those on people who lived in countries affected by vCJD in the past – but in the meantime we can show up without waiting for the urgent note sent on Whatsapp or Facebook.
If the blood had been there in the first place, people would not have to launch urgent appeals.
And for all those who watched Kenise’s video on Facebook, you would be honouring the last words she said in that broadcast.
Just before ending the video, she said: “If y’all could come out and donate, donate some blood please, it’s really saving people’s life, if you could do it.”
We can do better. We can give more. And we can do it to honour Kenise.
birdiestrachan 2 months ago
This is very sad , a through investigation should take place as to what went so wrong my sorry runs deep for her children and husband and all those who loved her, it is hard for children to loose their mother especially when they are so young
wngriff 2 months ago
That was the lady from PMH had stated in the press conference, but many comments were made, people were negatively commenting that donating blood is not the issue but about the lack of care at the hospital https://fb.watch/ifbmS1wpNJ/">https://fb.watch/ifbmS1wpNJ/
M0J0 2 months ago
I think we have a two fold issue here, 1 is healthcare needs to be made more efficient and more cost friendly, 2 we as Bahamians need to make going to the doctor a regular practice, we are habitual to only find the doctor when we feel our worse. Pmh needs an overhaul and staff need a supervisor or a hospital admin whom is serious about service and lives. Its sad to say but the Bahamian nurses are the worse.
Flyingfish 2 months ago
I think PMH should be given its own director who should be accountable for running the Hospital and accounting for things like this. If PMH has one already they should be front and center of occurrences such as this.
The Government runs agencies and SOE's yet there is no accountability from its management.
bahamianson 2 months ago
It is like a government job and that is how the nurses and physicians see it. Come in , sit down , go to lunch early, and leave to pick kid up from school never to return that day. The doctors and nurses do not care. They only want the raise.
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