PHA Addresses Social Media Posts Showing Video of COVID Patients

The Public Hospitals Authority (PHA) and the Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) are aware of photos and a video circulating on social media which portrays the West Porch Area of the Critical Care Block being battered by rain during the early morning hours of July 24th. The area identified in photos and video is the Triage site for the Accident & Emergency Department. All patients arriving for care at the Emergency Department are screened for COVID-19 as part of the hospital’s prevention measures.

During the rainstorm early Saturday morning, patients in the Triage area were relocated from the West Porch Area to the North Porch Area for temporary shelter from the weather. Subsequently, those patients were relocated to the General Practice Clinic area in the Ambulatory Block.

The Critical Care Block Food Court and its exterior porch areas were designated as the Triage site for COVID-19 screening for the PMH Emergency Department since March of 2020. Patients under investigation for COVID-19 infection are held in the exterior porch areas and COVID-19 positive patients are admitted and transferred to either the Special Pathogens Unit , the Legacy Unit or Doctor’s Hospital West.

For several weeks now the hospital has maintained that it has reached its capacity for COVID- 19 positive admissions, this as it continues to see a daily intake of COVID-19 cases. As recently as Friday, July 23rd, Hospital Administrator Mary Lightbourne Walker in a Ministry of Health Press Conference advised that there were fifty (50) COVID-19 positive patients admitted, some eleven (11) of whom were awaiting transfer from the Emergency Department for in-patient care. Hospital officials are in talks with international partners to expand the hospital’s Special Pathogen Unit for the care of COVID-19 patients.

The PHA and PMH has a very strict policy restricting visitation which is in place to protect patients and staff to avoid the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The capturing of photographs and videos of patients or staff without permission; and incidents of verbal and or physical abuse will not be tolerated.

The public is reminded that the Emergency Department is only accepting emergency cases. In the event of a medical emergency please call National Emergency Medical Services dispatchers at 919 or contact the PMH Emergency Department at 326-7014. Persons in need of care for non-medical emergencies should visit their doctor’s office or community clinic.

The Public Hospitals Authority and Princess Margaret Hospital salutes our hardworking and dedicated staff who continue to care for patients in the fight against this deadly pandemic. We thank the public for its ongoing support and compliance with COVID-19 prevention protocols at our public hospitals.

The public is further advised to follow all announcements and public advisories from the Ministry of Health and Public Hospitals Authority regarding Health and Hospital Services.