Big bucks for stretch­ers

Jamaica Gleaner - - SPORTS - Shayne Fair­man Gleaner Writer

Mem­bers of the St Ge­orge’s Col­lege Man­ning Cup team pray­ing to­gether af­ter Do­minic James, who had ear­lier col­lapsed, was moved from the field and taken to hos­pi­tal. The in­ci­dent oc­curred dur­ing a match against Ex­cel­sior High on Tues­day at the Sta­dium East field. LO­CAL HIGH schools wish­ing to pur­chase stretch­ers as part of their med­i­cal equip­ment for foot­ball matches could be called on to fork out as much as $70,000 plus tax.

The two types of stretch­ers used are the wheeled (gur­ney, trol­ley, bed or cart) or the ba­sic cot that must be car­ried by two or more peo­ple.

The is­sue of hav­ing stretch­ers as part of schools’ med­i­cal equip­ment at matches was thrown into the spot­light on Tues­day, when Do­minic James, cap­tain of St Ge­orge’s Col­lege, col­lapsed dur­ing a Man­ning Cup match against Ex­cel­sior High at the Sta­dium East field. The player was lifted off the field by four men.

The 18-year-old, who would have cel­e­brated his 19th birth­day on Mon­day, was seen by med­i­cal staff from the school then trans­ported to the Uni­ver­sity Hos­pi­tal of the West In­dies, where he died.

Checks done by The Gleaner yes­ter­day re­vealed that the best stretch­ers are not avail­able in bulk lo­cally, and it could take up to six weeks to get sup­plies from over­seas.

SPIKE IN DE­MAND

Ja­maica Hos­pi­tal Sup­plies, which sells health care equip­ment and sup­plies for hos­pi­tals in the Cor­po­rate Area, said the de­mand for stretch­ers went up af­ter James’ sud­den death.

The man­ual stretch­ers (cots) are the length-wise fold type and could cost up to $63,100 plus tax. Ac­cord­ing to a se­nior em­ployee, who wished to re­main anony­mous, they were down to just 10 stretch­ers.

“There has been a spike in or­ders since yes­ter­day,” the em­ployee said, adding that schools were among the in­sti­tu­tions rush­ing to place or­ders.

An­other Cor­po­rate Area-based firm, Med­i­cal Dis­pos­ables and Sup­plies Limited, said they wouldn’t have a vast quan­tity of stretch­ers in stock, but once schools sub­mit an or­der, they could source the equip­ment.

Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor Mer­tis Boothe said if a school needed a stretcher, the in­sti­tu­tion would be asked to de­cide on the type it would need.

“We would have to bring them in as they are not man­u­fac­tured in Ja­maica,” Boothe said.

GLAD­STONE TAY­LOR/PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

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