One does not cater for illness while on vacation in the Caribbean, but for Whalen and her partner Daniel Bult, that nightmare became a reality. They were aboard the SN Champagne Moment, docked in Bequia in St Vincent & The Grenadines, when Whalen felt debilitating abdominal pain and sought medical on 9th January. She was moved to the hospital on mainland St Vincent where her symptoms worsened.
Speaking with NOW Grenada, an emotional Whalen said she made the decision to discharge herself from the government-funded medical facility in St Vincent after 9 days., was sent. a government hospital in St Vincent.
I understand that the government hospital is severely underfunded, but kindness, compassion and caring, they do not know any borders. They need some serious help over there to attend to patients, because it was not just me.
I was looking around and I was very sad, so actually checked myself out of the hospital because I felt I was dying.”
Whalen returned to Bequia having lost all confidence in the medical professionals on the mainland. While awaiting the test results, her overwhelming pain prompted them to leave for Grenada where arrangements were made for her to be rushed to St Augustine, Medical Services (SAMS).
Landing at the Maurice Bishop International airport on 19fanuary, she collapsed. A taxi transported her to SAMS, where Dr Amechi was able to quickly determine the cause of her illness – a ruptured appendix.
“Dr. Amechi was waiting for me there. In about 30 minutes he had 2 IVs in me and tubes everywhere, and had me diagnosed. I had been walking around with a perforated appendix for nearly 10 days, and he said, slam not kidding you, you are very sick, literally cried that finally, someone was taking care of me; and the doctors and nurses there were just simply amazing.
They stabilized me and had me see the surgeon who got my pain under control, and about 10 hours later received surgery, then spent the next 10 days recovering at St Augustine’s.
I tell you, I worked for a major trauma medical center in the US and I could not have got any better care than I did right here in Grenada. I can’t thank them enough for saving my life.
While recovering at SAMS, Whalen said it became clear that she was misdiagnosed in St Vincent as having gastroenteritis and not appendicitis, and if she had stayed there, she would not have made it out alive.
Dr. Amechi said, “I don’t want to disparage my colleagues in St Vincent acute appendicitis is not that early to diagnose.
50% of the time we get the diagnosis wrong and the other 50% you are right. Imaging using ultrasound, CT scans are not as accurate as we would like it to be because sometimes the little appendix has tucked itself underneath something so you don’t see it and it is more clinical intuition and experience that will guide you.”
Dr Amechi encourages people to pay attention to the signs their bodies are showing and to have regular clinical examinations to ensure that they remain healthy.
Life has a whole new meaning for Daniel Bult andJody Whalen, as they are continually grateful for God, mercies.
First Published NOW GRENADA