LETTER: EMT’s Cry Out For Personal Protective Equipment


Dear Editor,

Emergency Medical Technicians have one of the most dangerous occupations in Antigua and Barbuda.

These are trying times for us on the front lines of the current pandemic, not knowing if the next call will be our last.

After the Ministry of Health announced that we had “an adequate amount of PPE in storage” we puffed a sigh of relieve but now we face ethical challenges in the absence of having proper personal protective equipment.

Although many other healthcare providers on the island are facing similar challenges during this time, the challenges for EMT’s may be particularly difficult because we are one of the groups with the least ability to protect ourselves from the virus and simultaneously one of the groups with the highest chances of spreading the virus.

In the absence of having proper PPE, individual EMTs are struggling with ethical decisions about how to protect ourselves, our families, our patients and our communities. We should not have to make these difficult decisions in isolation at the same time as having to deal with the increasing number of calls due to the reopening of the country. We work under three assumptions: Everything we touch is contaminated, everyone we meet is contagious and we are contagious hence, PPE is a vital tool in providing patient care.

The current guidance from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), an agency of the United States Department of Labor, states: “Healthcare workers must use proper PPE when exposed to a patient with confirmed/suspected COVID-19 or other sources of COVID-19;” the OSHA list of required PPE includes “disposable N95 or better respirators.”

We understand that these are unprecedented times with unprecedented challenges, but our lives and the safety of others are dependent upon them. Our concern has fallen in the deaf ears of the management, but I hope this article helps foster an immediate solution on a larger level that leads to the much-needed improvement of EMS Antigua.



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  1. Am I missing something? Wat did the British Airways plane bring in a few wks ago? The stock depleted already?

  2. This is a crazy female worker if EMS ….. Always causing mischief, I’m betting she’s on her regular political agenda

  3. Yes onlooker …So many reports of multiple plane loads of PPE flown into Antigua over the past weeks, where did they go?

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