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Nurses threaten to walk off job; Sandilands nurse dies from COVID-19

A nurse employed at Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre died after becoming infected with COVID-19, prompting members of the Bahamas Nurses Union nationwide to threaten to walk off the job. The move could severely impact the public healthcare system.

“You can rest assured all nurses of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas will be sitting underneath the tree effective today. Prime Minister we’re tired. Minister of Health, we’re tired,” said BNU President Amancha Williams, who held a news conference outside SRC on Saturday morning.

Williams said before her death the nurse, affectionately known as Bernie was crying out for assistance and had to be hospitalized twice. Nurses believe their colleague would’ve had a different outcome if she hadn’t been sent home.

“There were no beds. She was sent home. Could you imagine? The nurse who was taking care of everybody sent home. Well, we’re saying today enough is enough. If you can’t give a nurse a bed in a private sector then there will be no nurse,” said Williams.

“She can’t be tested? She can’t get PPEs?” asked the union leader.

“This is the reason we were fighting, and we will use the term fighting because it was a fight for us,” Williams added.

“This nurse called us for assistance. We sent a plea to all the persons in charge that this nurse was at PMH twice asking for assistance. We know that she had a comorbidity and we know at this point in time you don’t send nobody home, especially a nurse.”

“A nurse should’ve had a bed in ICU like we do for the rest of the hierarchies. She came on the job, she worked, she sacrificed, she was exposed on the job and was left home to care for herself like many nurses are doing today,” Williams said.

“We say to this government enough is totally enough. As of today, things ain’t right.”

An angry Williams said the nurses union is still begging for exposed nurses to be tested.

“Testing takes up 7 to 10 days. Nurses are quarantined up to 14 days and still don’t know. You test all the patients on the ward and you know their status but you don’t know the nurses’ status?” Williams asked.

“We’re talking to the EOC team. Get it together. You cannot risk the life of a nurse. This mother has left two children, Lily and Ethan. After this pandemic who is going to look after Lily and Ethan?”

“We cannot let this happen to any other nurse. We refuse,” Williams added.

The BNU President said nurses are now home self-medicating and experiencing respiratory distress.

She pleaded with residents to stay home and stressed “now is not the partying time.”

As of Friday, 1703 people have tested positive for Covid-19. Five people with coronavirus died yesterday, a new daily record for COVID deaths.

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