On Thursday, Feb. 16, at approximately 6 p.m., the V.I. Department of Health (DOH), received an unexpected visitor at the Charles Harwood Complex (CHC) on St. Croix. A tourist, Vincent Tortorella, was visiting from the U.S. mainland, and he arrived at the DOH through the help of his GPS, believing that he had reached the hospital.
As Commissioner Davis and other staff were exiting the CHC at day’s end, they were approached by a woman who asked if she had reached the hospital. After inquiring what the woman needed, she said her husband was downstairs experiencing a cardiac arrhythmia that could cause severe cardiac complications (i.e. possibility of slowing blood flow to the heart that can cause formation of clots and may lead to a cardiac arrest).
Immediately, EMS staff, which is housed at the DOH, were called, and they responded within seconds. The EMS staff provided initial care and stabilized the patient. An ambulance came a few minutes later and care was continued on route to the hospital.
Mr. Tortorella expressed his gratitude for the professionalism, knowledge, medical attention and the technology that he saw on the DOH EMS ambulance. Today, Feb. 21, Mr. Tortorella sent a formal letter expressing his gratitude and relaying his overall experience with the DOH EMS staff. The following is a copy of the letter:
“Dear Commissioner Davis: As you may recall I am the man who found himself in need of medical attention in your parking lot, thinking we had gone to the hospital. I wanted to take this time to relate my experience. Firstly, I want to commend Jacqueline Greenidge-Payne, Paramedic Training Officer and Iotha Prince, EMT. I found their professionalism and demeanor comforting in a strange environment and under strange circumstances.
After the above experience, I had the good fortune to be placed into the ambulance staffed by Janice Maldonado, paramedic and Ikusha Bassue, EMT. There in the ambulance once again, the professionalism and pride in their work showed. It made for a comfortable and stress free trip to the ER. At the ER, my luck still holding, I had the (once again) good fortune of meeting Nurse Nancy (no last name) and nurse Jahdel Jules. Here, being prodded and probed, there was nothing but care and professionalism.