While commending the government for its efforts in stamping out the coronavirus in the territory, owner of the Bougainvillea Clinic Dr Heskith Vanterpool said there are many existing roadblocks for healthcare specialists who usually travel to the BVI to treat patients.
Dr Vanterpool explained that due to the low population of the territory, having resident specialist physicians and surgeons is not practical. As such, ever so often, several doctors specializing in various fields would be flown in to care for patients.
However, since the arrival of COVID-19, the procedure to get these patients the specialist care they require has been met with roadblocks.
“We say no man is an island. But, no island is an island. It cannot exist in isolation. We need to interact with other islands, with the continents. People need to start coming back into the BVI,” Dr Vanterpool said during the Honestly Speaking radio programme on Thursday.
He continued: “The question is how do we do this and how do we do it safely, as safely as possible bearing in mind that we can never be 100 percent successful. Unless COVID-19 dies out throughout the world, as long as it is existing the COVID-19 virus is going to come to the BVI at some point.”
Quarantine an issue
Dr Vanterpool explained that during a typical visit to the BVI, these specialists are only going to be in the territory for a few days. He said it is the existing regulations are therefore impractical for these doctors to be made to go into quarantine for two weeks.
“If I were to bring one of my specialist doctors in for three days to look after the patients, we cannot put them in quarantine for 14 days before they are allowed to see patients. And neither is it practical when they return to their country for them to have to go back in quarantine. Those are some of the confounding issues we are looking at,” Dr Vanterpool argued.
Another issue surrounds proving that these physicians are negative for the virus.
He explained: “I have, after some discussions and back and forth, approval for my visiting doctors to begin to come back but there are certain provisions that we need to put in place and we have to abide by those.”
“One of them is the person coming in should have a test within a short period of time before leaving to come to show we are negative. But guess what? We have a problem because in many of the Caribbean islands, we are still taking samples and sending down to the laboratory in Trinidad and they say they will not do a test unless the person is sick. So you have a doctor who wants to come, how is he or she going to get a test?” he questioned.