LETTER: A Nurse’s Plea


Dear Editor,

I am a nurse at the SLBMC & I do hope that the content of this letter will not fall on deaf ears of the hospital administration.

Recently, I got the shock of my life.

I had just completed my graveyard shift and so, I asked a colleague of mine, who is a medical doctor, for a ride, since we were both going in the same direction.

Interestingly, the doctor who was ” on call ” had just completed a 28-hr work shift. Now, if it was not for the mercies of God and my alertness, we perhaps would have gotten into a very serious accident.

Surprisingly, our vehicle ran off the road shortly after we left the hospital. In fact, nature took the best of the Doc who felt extremely drained from the shift she had just completed and hence, immediately crashed out and fell asleep behind the steering wheel.

Of course, I have no intention to try to reinvent the wheel but, I am of the view that the amount of hours that these doctors are working when they are “ On Call ” with very little sleep or no sleep at all is extremely ludicrous and should be looked into immediately.

We all know that working right around the clock without any sleep is not healthy and it can be detrimental to one’s wellbeing.

It is evident that the mental & physical state degrades especially after working a full day of 8 hours.

This will also cause patients to become shortchange of proper health care.

According to our Labour Code, a person is required to work at least 8 basic hours per day.

Most health manuals stipulates that a person is required to get 8 hours of sleep daily so that the body can be rejuvenated and function properly.  Why then, are the doctors who are “ On Call ” at the hospital are stretched to that limit of working 24 to 30 hours, without any sleep? Where are the voices of the unions?

Obviously, these doctors who are  “ on call ” will certainly be faced with a lot of mental & physical stressed. Like anyone else, they are human beings and at some point, they will become fatigue from the rudiments of their job. Many I have seen surviving on coffee to stay awake. It is inhumane and I think the authorities should immediately investigate our doctor’s interest. Perhaps,  they can be given split shifts or be given a 12-hour work period for their “On Call” duties.

My experience of running off the road  with my colleague was frightening but who can tell what may happen in the future. Remember, Prevention is better than to cure.



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  1. Our nurse sister has raised an issue of grave concern to our medical professionals. This absolutely needs to be looked into and a solution found for all our sales. Thank God both of them are still with us today.

  2. Without seeming to unsympathetic, this practice goes on across the globe in the medical field when it comes “on call” services. The doctor had to agree to stay on before she was allowed to continue. What should probably happen is for some space to be provided for a 4-hour rejuvenation period at the facility. This would help to some extent in breaking the long cycle of labour so as not become so labourious task.
    My former high school classmate is an Nurse Practitioner in a hospital in Florida. A few weeks ago, she posted on our blog class whatsapp blog that she worked for 96 hours from Sunday to Thursday because on the Hurricane Ian. Many staff did not show up for work. She was not allowed to leave, with 45 minute breaks every so often. She couldn’t drive home.
    The medical field requires some sacrifice when you don’t have your own practice.

    • @ Dave Ray: I can appreciate the idea that we can use the wider world as a model, but we should not negate the idea of putting things in place that best suit us.

      • We don’t have the kinds of capital which is afforded the 1st world countries. Most hospitals are privately owned institutions.

        • @Dave Ray…”we don’t have the kinds of capital which is afforded the 1st World countries, says Dave Ray.

          This is total hogwash, and here’s why…

          A…if this is the case, why have Our Nation created so much revenue in the tourism industry, whereby investors can see the profits on their returns?

          B…ONDCP must now expand their investigations into locals, especially those overnight millionaires.

          C…the Odebrecht Investigation by the US State Department span some 30 plus years, the Nation MUST have INDEPENDENT FORENSIC AUDITING spanning at least two(2) decades, for such things as the WPP – Wadadli Power Plant, reopen the IHI cold case, the cost overruns on any public project, to include the new airport(which by the way, allegedly, is in need of repairs estimated in the tens of millions of dollars),
          the sale of Crown Lands, National Housing Projects, and, and, and, #ALL the loans and grants which are now coming from the New Green/Climate Change Funding.

          The Nation’s public sector has to have enough materials and personnel, to at least construct a Nurses and Doctors quarters on the main hospital compound. Just take a look at the million dollar mansions being built by government managers at the top of the PYRAMID SCHEME managed by the Parliament.


    • @Mr. Ray – you beat me to the punch on that one.
      As a sales engineer one of the industries I served was power generation. It was commonplace for a first-shift power plant employee to be asked to switch to second shift the same day, being asked to pull a double shift, maybe for a couple days then be switched to third shift.
      It was rewarded though, utility workers in the early 2000’s would be making $37/hour u.s.

      Perhaps a career change would benefit the author of this story.

    • Dave Ray, open your eyes, your heart and your brain and stop being so unsympathetic. Emergencies like what happened in Florida (Hurricane) created mobility problems. As in the case at SLBMC, as the nurse mentioned and I’m in total agreement with her, it is inhumane and goes against the local Labour regulations to SCHEDULE any worker, unionized or otherwise, for the hours indicated. That system definitely needs looking into. In the meantime, I pray that both nurse and doctor are doing ok.

  3. Don’t they have rooms they can sleep in during their shifts? I’m so sadden but this news, granted it’s not so bad as no one was seriously hurt but like the nurse said prevention is better than cure. I believe even if they do these type of hours at the hospital there should be a designated area where doctors on call can sleep. This issue is also due to lack of doctors in general because they wouldn’t have to do so much hours. Come on Antigua we go suffer more in the end.

  4. Praise be 🙏, there was no loss of life; I’m also hoping that your plea doesn’t fall on deaf ears or is completely ignored by the authorities.

    Our medical staff continue to be the beating heart of society … please treat them as such, to whom it may concern 🥸

  5. I was once a patient at SLBMC and I was taken back to see the same Doctor who was assigned to the ward that I was in, attending to me and other patients morning, noon and night. It was frightening because I began to wonder if there was no rest for the weary. As the writer said The doctors do need a break. They are human beings made of flesh and blood also!!

  6. Many are comparing 1st world to third world.
    Where in the 1st world there are multiple doctor on call so they can take scheduled breaks and help their colleagues recover. Howvere from my experience in the hospital as a patient it is only one doctor with and intern that they have to supervise to deal with all the patients and when the day is busy there is no time to rest. The 12 hr on call is a good idea nurse.

  7. Sometimes I wonder!
    Are the bloggers here unaware that none of us can live without oxygen?
    Today it’s you Tomorrow it’s me. Running off the road and hitting a pedestrian might have had more impact cause Antigua people lub ugly.

  8. The Board of Mount Lester Bird don’t care
    The senior doctors with private practice don’t care
    The medical director don’t care
    The chief medical officer don’t care
    The permanent secretary don’t care
    SirFauci don’t care. Only thing he care about is optics.

    When they go to cabinet today, they need to set a date for the symposium that the information minister spoke about. But first, the permanent secretary and chief medical officer need to meet with ALL of their doctors and nurses and the board of Mount Lester Bird need to meet with ALL of their doctors and nurses. AND all meetings need to be recorded. ( Forget about the victimization )
    Enough is enough

  9. I do not think we have a shortage of doctors at this time. Not with the amount of doctors I see running around the hospital. I think better scheduling can help and also a beautiful laid out room , with meals served . Thank God that neither of you were hurt. God know you are a special breed of humans doing his work. May God bless all the nurses and doctors.

  10. Molwyn must go. He micromanaged the healthcare sector so much, that no one wants to work with him. So the few who are without backbone, who allow him to tell them what to do and what to then say, expect health workers to behave and function like robots

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