Swine flu claimed life

| 25/07/2009

(CNS):Health officials have confirmed this evening that a 31-year-old male resident of Caribbean Haven has died of swine flu. Although a test for Influenza A had proved negative, it has now been confirmed by the Cayman Islands Hospital that the CAREC lab’s H1N1 test has returned positive, and while the man has a pre-existing medical condition, the flu virus was the cause of his death. The man went to the hospital on Saturday 18 July and died on Monday.

Minster for Health Mark Scotland said that officials, who have been in contact with the family from the start, have met with them and shared this information and offered his condolences.

“We all hoped that no one in Cayman would be severely affected by H1N1. But this unfortunate death shows that as a country we face the same challenges in managing this illness as do other countries around the world,” he said. “Sadly, it is a fact that persons with underlying medical conditions, such as the young man who passed away, are susceptible to serious complications, and sometimes death.”

He added that the Medical Officer of Health Dr Kiran Kumar and his team had visited Caribbean Haven immediately following the resident’s death in order to counsel residents and staff.

“They also tested those who had flu symptoms, and offered them the drug Tamiflu as treatment. As a preventative measure, Tamiflu was also offered to staff and residents who did not have flu symptoms,” the minister said. “Health officials will provide further details on H1N1 in Cayman at a press briefing on Monday.”

He said that government does have adequate supplies of Tamiflu and asked people to do their part by remaining calm and following public health advisories. “It is very important that we understand that H1N1, as well as seasonal flu, are national health issues. We all have important roles in preventing their spread,” Scotland added.

Meanwhile, a public health team has also visited West Bay as a result of fears of a flu outbreak in a local neighborhood. “We met with residents to inform and reassure them after three residents of the National Housing Trust (NHT) affordable housing development in Captain Jose Osborne Drive were hospitalized with the flu,” said Dr Kumar. Of the three patients, one was scheduled to go home on Friday, 24 July.

“We discussed the nature of the H1N1 virus, how to prevent the spread of it, and how to care for those who get sick,” Dr Kumar said, adding that the fears were understandable, especially in light of recent events and the rise in the number of hospitalisations.

“We will continue to educate the public, and anyone with concerns should call the Public Health Department. It is important that people have the correct information so they can be full partners in the effort to contain the H1N1 virus,” said Dr Kumar.

He explained that those in high risk groups are people who, when they do get the flu, have a higher probability of getting severely ill. It does not mean that they are at higher risk of catching the virus. In fact, according to the CDC’s statistics, the highest rates of infection are in those under 25, and the median age of hospitalized cases in the US is 19 years old. High risk groups include children under the age of five, adults over the age of 65, pregnant women, people with weakened immune systems, and people with chronic conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, and heart disease.  If you are in a high risk group it means you have to monitor your illness and seek medical attention if your symptoms are severe.

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Comments (33)

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  1. dube says:

     Ok  Mr Sour Grapes a hear ya?

  2. Anonymous says:

    I see that many people have nothing to say or do but criticize others. I would love to see the job performance reviews or talk to the employers of some of the people that criticize the hard work of others. I wonder how many of you would get glowing reviews. I bet not many.

  3. Anonymous says:

    In response to 16:21:  

    First you stated " impressed by the promptness of treatment compared to other hospitals i have visited in the States".  I assumed you were meaning the OVERALL treatement, which would include the ER.  Common sense tells you that theER would give preference to accident victims, gun shot victims, etc.  Maybe I should have been more clear, but there were NO victims of any sort of that nature, I guarantee you.  

    Second, you must never go to the GT hospital in any manner.  I called GT today, one week to seedoctor.  Guess where I go if I can’t see a doctor in the next few days. Keep in mind they DO NOT have any walk in times anymore at the GT.  Why?

    Third, to get a dentist appointment, it is 6 months out. Again part of the great HSA system.

    Fourth, you must have visited the worst hospital in the US.  I have never had to wait more than 15 minutes in an ER.  An ER is just that ER means Emergency, not well come in and wait 5 hours.

    On a final note, please tell the HSA to stop saying "high risk" groups, as this doesn’t correlate to the CDC statistics.  This "talk" only pertains to the "seasonal flu".  

    I sure hope the family seeks answers to this young gentleman’s death.  This whole BS of "underlying medical condition" is nonsense.  We all have underlying medical conditions in some sense of the word.  This is just a cop out for incompetence, and to qwell teh public into asking any serious questions.


  4. Anonymous says:

    Can someone please walk me through the process? If I am having severe flue like symptoms, where should I go? "First to my private doctor and then wait on his conclusion or go straight to the hospital (if so, where exactly at the hospital)? What is the best process to follow?


  5. Anonymous says:

    In response to the poster from 10:57

    Where in my post do I refer to the Emergency Room? Isn’t the General Practice Clinic located in the hospital? Why are people who are potentially sick with the swines flue seen in the "General Practice Clinic"? Shouldn’t there be a separate make-shift facility to avoid having someone who potentially has the Swines Flue impact or come in contact with other sick people who are at the hospital?

    The point I am trying to make is that when listening to the radio, it is all explained away so easily, however, I don’t believe that all the respective precautions have been made. The doctors and nurses and other employees at the hospital are not to blame. I am sure they are trying to do their best. It is the people who are setting the guidelines how this should be dealt with in Cayman. I understand that sometimes the truth has to be softened, but I believe in this case, we all need to know what exactly is happening………

  6. Nonnie Mouse says:

    We need to be realistic. From data currently available, about 20-30% of the population will get this disease this winter whatever we do, and those that don’t get it this year will stand a good chance fo getting it next year.  Children will be more likely to get it, because they spread disease very effectively.  Between 0.5% and 5% of people getting this will die, with the figure most likely to be around the 0.5% to 1% figure.  Of the deaths, 65-75% will be people with pre-existing conditions, and the rest will be otherwise healthy.  Of the healthy people adults are most at risk.  

    What can we do?  The answer is very little to prevent its spread and the focus should be on effective treatment preparation for the spike when it comes.  Applying the figures from other countries, an estimate of deaths would be around 50-75  The current credible worst case scenario factored by the UK government would put the highest death toll estimate at 500 in the Cayman Islands. 

    There it is – that is what a flu epidemic does.  It is just there has not been one for a long time.

  7. Joe says:

    We have to blame the HSA Board and the Chief Medical Officers at the GT Hposital the new and past government as well as the incompetent Health Minister.

    Becuase they decided to block patients from coming to the hospital becuase of this illness as it would increase their accounts receivable which they are now having problems collecting, they are acting this way because of the greed of money and in the process having total disregard for human life.

    What the New Government has to do is make Health and Education free for all Caymanians, and find other ways to make money to pay the expenses of these services to Caymanians. 

    Cayman is one of the largest financial centers of the world, come on UDP or PPM you must can give the people free medical and eudcation.

    Off course you would make sure that indiviudals have adeqeuate medical insurance coverage to anyone having to be flown overseas or needing to be referred overseas.


  8. Marek says:

    In the last five years I have had to twice visit the emergency room. Once resulting in my being admitted and needing an emergency operation. There was also one time that I had to take someone to the emergency room.

    All three times the staff were nothing short of amazing. The clerk took my information, I sat in the waiting room… perhaps for 30-40 minutes, saw the admitting nurse who took my vitals and then very shortly thereafter saw the doctor.

    You have to use common sense. There are people coming into the emergency room from car accidents, people with breathing and/or heart problems and people clearly in pain… they will deal with those people first and rightfully so.

    Just remember, when the doctor is with ‘you’ and you are being attended to… somebody else is waiting and wondering … why it is taking so long… and you are the answer to thier question.




  9. Anonymous says:

    My child is asthmatic and I am scared to death now! What should I do at this point? Should I give him vitamins? What should I do? I don’t know what to do…and I’m scared out of my mind!….

  10. Wes'Bay-a says:

    One suggested solution….

    We should do what China is doing. They have installed a heat tracking device within their airports for arrivals and departures where everyone that enters the airport have to pass-thru this machine. If your temperature is higher than normal, you are pulled out and medically check-out.

    Oooooooops, I forgot!! We’re running this country on "common sense" and no money!!! What a frigging mess we’re in!! I wonder if we can now call on Ritz Carlton to give us back the millions of dollars (CI at that!) that the ‘Stuppus Biggus Maccus’ allowed them for concessions at the time of construction AND if we could find the CI$6million that AGAIN, the ‘Stuppus Biggus Maccus’ allowed to be spent on Boatswains but the AG cannot find an financial records for. If we had these monies, MAYBE, JUST MAYBE we could start affording such enhanced technology.

    However since we either gave away our money or spent it on a worthy cause, the Health Authority should now mandate that all persons at the Cruise ship landings, supermarkets, public and private offices, schools, etc., should be screened before entrance to these places by a simple & quick thermometer check (get one of those at HealthCare Pharmacy that records the temperature in the ear within 2 seconds).

    And folks, please don’t comment on how much time this is going to take. The very life you save could be your own! Just wake-up and leave home a 1/2 hour earlier – no additional expense 🙂

  11. Anonymous says:

     We have heard from the Mother of victim on Rooster this Morning i only hope that certain people were listening carefully to what was said before they jump to the defence of the persons concerned. Where is the Health minister some folks need firing SIr! So get to work!

  12. Anonymous says:

    One of my co-workers got ill with the flue and finally went to the hospital. She said it was a nightmare, 5 hours wait, dealing with incompetent people, not isolated from any other patients who happen to be at the hospital, begging them to do the test …..

    What is going on? Listening to all the officials on the radio, they sound like they have all in hand, but this doesn’t seem what people are experiencing!

    Truthfully, if you think this is bad now, wait until all the school children and their families return from vacation abroad and the schools re-open…….

  13. D says:

    No plan for the Cayman Islands sounds familiar aaah bwoy Same old GoWerment deal same old players now incorporated in UDP. What happened to better way forward

  14. Anonymous says:

    "Please before you start making inflammatory statements about our health services wait for the facts to emerge."

    Why are we always waiting for "facts to emerge" and then they never do.  If the police, the HSA or any other government entity actually had any of the facts they woudl emerge to quell any speculation. The typical Caymanian thing to to… "Just wait for…." and then everyone waits and government never releases the information because they beleive people have just "forgot" about it..


    "impressed by the promptness of treatment"

    Oh yah.. you haven’t been there, that is a statement out of thin air.  You need to go back sometime and just check how long it is to see a doctor in the emergency room.  The EMERGENCY ROOM has a 5 hour wait time to see the doctor.  I have pictures of it on a few different occasions, just in case something happened to me while I was there. Get real, this is a joke, 5 hours to see a doctor. 


    • anonymous says:

      In response to the post stating that you had a five hour wait in the emergency room at the hospital.

      If you choose to use emergency facilities you are competeing for care against patients that need immediate attention such as heart attack and road accident victims.  I’m sure you would not consider that someone with flu symptoms should divert a doctors care away from someone in a critical condition. It may be you one day that needs that immediate care. Would you be happy if the doctor was busy seeing people with flu symptoms?

      I suspect the reason the waiting time at the emergency room was so long is that the staff were having to deal with the extra flu cases on top of the regular emergencies. If you don’t want to wait then make an appointment at the General Practice Clinic where you will treated for your flu and you will not have to wait as long.

  15. Anonymous says:

    "NO, Cayman is 2%, Argentina is 6.2%, Urugauay is 3.8%, Praguay is 6%, and Tonga is 11%"

    But YES on a per capita basis?  Unless there have been 2 million deaths in Argentina no-one has reported.

  16. say wha says:

     You are absolutely right where are these infected persons are they islolated quarantined to stop the spread we have the right to know whats going on? if nothing is being cover up why don’t we have the facts.

    At the start of this Swine Flu situation in Cayman there was a really negligent/careless act at the First Baptist School by the parents of one child  which warranted and investigation and action which would not have stopped the spread of this pandemic flu but would have served as reminder to people infected or exposed of their responsibility and consideration they should have for protecting others from this flu. This death is unfortunately a poignant reminder of what this Flu is capable of. My deepest condolences to this victim friends and family

  17. cc rider says:

    There is no cover up Eggy butta alotta incompetence and disregard for the public safety by the certain officials concerned, in other places people would be sacked. How could someone even suggest it had nothing to do with certain people seems a bit ludicrous but  i am not surprised. It is quite clear now what the cause of death was from the positive test and in regards to assumptions that appears to be all the public who’s money is being spent can do but assume as the steps to safe guard the public are not clearly defined by the officials concerned. My thoughts and prayers go out to his parents in this time of sorrow.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Does this mean Cayman has the highest death rate from swine flu in the world?"


    NO, Cayman is 2%, Argentina is 6.2%, Urugauay is 3.8%, Praguay is 6%, and Tonga is 11%



  19. DB says:

    The 21st of july headline read Swine flu rumour doused and here we are today with a different  situation someone made serious errors in judgement before test were concluded. Others are also now infected at this location has it been shut down and sanitized to stop the spread? It is sure funny how when a pebble is thrown into the crowd some folks are the first to cry out Couseling residents and staff is wonderful but shouldn’t we be trying to stop or prevent the spread of the Flu at this facility. My condolences and prayers go out to the parents and family of this young man.

  20. StatsMan says:

    "Does this mean Cayman has the highest death rate from swine flu in the world?"

    Maybe, maybe not.  New York State looks like the highest in the US (total, not per capita – too much work to write that table) and it has had 0.7549 swine flu deaths per 100,000 people.  This one for us (it is the first one, right?) makes our rate 2.039 per 100,000 people. New York’s infection rate in described as the highest category at "widespread" per the CDC.  

    The global stats are not likely to be accurate as "reported to actual" numbers are not thought to be remotely close.  If anyone has a source, please post it here.

    This infection will run through our population as every flu does.  Keep informed and read about the preventative measures you can take: http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/qa.htm#d

    We’ve still got New York City beat for murders though, with 14.3 per 100,000 here and 6.3 in New York City.  You are much more likely to die in Cayman as a murder victim than of swine flu.


  21. Anonymous says:

     Death rate in Cayman is 2.04% (1 death/49 confirmed cases) and for the US is .69% (302/43771).  Cayman does have a higher death rate by THREE times than the US.

    Why would they cover it up was asked?  Oh, I don’t know maybe because if tourists new that if you got swine flu in Cayman or became sick in Cayman, you are just screwed.  I personally don’t believe that it is a cover up, just straight incompetence.

    I have been posting, before this death, on why the HSA was not giving out accurate information on the swine flu, as most deaths are between 5-64 years of age (check the CDC website).  I would bet this gentleman was never given Tamiflu because the "doctors" here didn’t think he was in a "high risk group".  Now to blame it on "underlying conditions" is just unimagineable!

    The morale of the story:  You have a bunch of clowns running the HSA, incompetent doctors at GT, and a government who takes their advice instead of researching on their own for the facts. The government needs to stop playing puppets and start having people research on their own (assuming they know how to).  Oh, and if you get the swine flu, you better just pray that your body will heal on its own.  I would let any of the doctors at GT treat me.




    • Wait for the facts says:

      Please before you start making inflammatory statements about our health services wait for the facts to emerge.

      The article regarding the unfortunate death of a 31 year old man stated that he had contracted H1N1 but  also had a preexisting medical condition. The hospital would not be allowed to elloborate on the nature of this condition due to patient confidentiality.

      If this gentleman had presented himself to the hospital with symptoms that had matched the criteria for the H1N1 with a history of underlying medical problems he would have been given Tamiflu. It is irresponsible to state that he would be turned away, as non of  us know the exact circumstances presented during this visit.

      It is my understanding from what i have read on Tamiflu ,that it has to be taken within 48 hours of symptom onset. It doesn’t cure the flu but reduces the severity of symptoms. If anyone with a compromised immune system or pre existing condition is given the drug it may help, but the patient will still be very ill due to their lack of immunity or existing condition. 

      Let me conclude by  stating that on the few times i have been ill enough to visit the hospital at Georgetown i was impressed by the promptness of treatment compared to other hospitals i have visited in the States. The doctors that i have met are first class and i put my faith in them ,knowing that they are treating all patients appropriately.


      • Anonymous says:

        to wait on the facts. thought I read somewhere, could have been in CNS that he went to the hospital and was sent back, and on the return he died.  Even if this is what happened do you really think they are going to admit to negligence, or are they going to say oh he had a preexisting condition. Do you think they want a lawsuit.

        I think the parents should file a law suit even if only to get to the truth. Someone should be held accountable. Too many times people are done wrong at the GT hospital and nothing comes of it. So whats to stop them.

        My experience at the GT hospital was a few years ago, I went in because my Doc didn’t like what he saw on my ECG and sent me over to emergency as his machine was small. Well they didn’t see anything, so they decided to do a chest xray, I was told I had a blood clot on my lungs and needed to be admitted to get blood thinners. Well as my husband had to catch the bank, it being a friday, I ask to wait until he came back & if I could wait outside, they told me I would have to discharge myself to wait outside. This I DID, and it saved my life.  To make a long story short I found a metal electrode under my breast that was left on, I went to another doctor the next day with my xrays, he said it was too round to be a clot & he had another doctor and another radiologist, look at it and they all came to the same conclusion, I had NO clot and it was the electrode.

        These are facts and I did not file a suit so, imagine what other things they have gotten away with. My life was saved because I am stubborn and always want a secondopinion. I imagine more people have had worse experience there than I have. Its time that someone is held accountable.


  22. Sandra Ebanks says:


    The above matter concerning the young man that passed away had nothing to do with the Caribbean Haven Director. Mrs. Seymour had nothing to do with that, she took the necessary precautions to ensure that the man who passed away was treated upon the advise of HSA on dealing with a reported flu.

    As the for the Director, the most that she can do for a client when they say they are sick is so take them to the hospital or seek medical attention for them, which I am very sure was done.

    What would Caribbean Haven or Mrs. Seymour or any other Government official get out of covering up a swine flu out break or swine flu death? You do realize if they did so, that would be detramental to all staff and clients of Caribbean Haven? As most of you maybe aware Mrs. Seymour did attend a press briefing to state that they were not sure if swine flu caused the death of the young man but it would be further investigated, so what was anyone Government Official in the matter covering up?

    Please no one make any assumptions on this matter as it is still not clear to the knowledge of anyone in the public at the moment.

  23. Let's Get Real says:

    Why can’t private doctors test for the swine flu?

    I woke up on Tuesday feeling very tired. After 15 minutes at work I had to put on my sweater because I was feeling very cold, figuring it may have been the A/C. After about an hour I knew something wasn’t right. The general unwell feeling was coming on fast. I have been very vigilant concerning swine flu, so I called my doctor and got an appointment, which was for that afternoon.

    Now I knew something was VERY wrong when I went outside with my thick sweater under the 2:15 sun and was shivering. My doctor checked me out and while talking, I was surprised to hear that private doctors cannot check for the swine flu! Apparently, the HSA told them that they need to do it because it’s a special test done by their nurses. SPECIAL TEST?!?! Now if a nurse can swab you for swine flu, how much worse can a DOCTOR do? I understand the need for them to monitor the numbers and have accurate statistics, but please tell me why my doctor can’t do the swab and send it in to them for analysis and record keeping? This is not the time for power and control.

    There are many private doctors on this island. This simply means that not everybody goes to GT Hospital. I for one don’t have 3 hours to spare on any day, not even Saturday.

    Additionally, word on the street is that GT Hospital isn’t testing again, or not the rate they should. CNS, can you please confirm this? Can we really afford not to test? Pass the cost on, but we need to know what is happening. I don’t think they know what is happening.

    If private doctors can’t test, then I suspect there are many more cases on this island than we are aware (or possible can imagine).

    So tell me something… the GT hospital lab got a negative on a case that was positive??? So much for credibility!

  24. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Wadd,

    Even though the initial tests came back negative, the HSA sent the samples on to Trinidad, just to be sure.  Good thing they did, eh?  Now we know.  Some cover up.

    Have you stopped to think that the first people on the scene of a suspected case of H1N1 are the HSA staff and doctors?  Which, one might suppose, puts them at a higher risk than normal to be exposed to the disease.  Why on earth would they do that?  To get as much information as possible, I suspect, and to protect as much as possible the general population.


    • Anonymous says:

      Was this young man treated  with the Tamiflu the very first time that  he showed up at the hospital with his flu like sympthoms and 103 degrees fever or was he simply sent back home? 

      What about the second and third time; did he receive the  life saving medication then or did he have to pass in order for the hospital to finally realize how sick this person was?

      Somehow this sounds as if  there is more going on here with this case than the hospital is letting on, but I would urge the parents to investigate this a bit  farther.

      My condolenses go out to his mother and family; how devastated they must be by this tragedy.

  25. Wonder says:

    Does this mean Cayman has the highest death rate from swine flu in the world?

  26. Twyla M Vargas says:


    I am not a medial doctor, but I believe in my bush medecine.   However, my reasons for this I would like to share.    Not everyone knows much about bush medecine, which  also is a dying art of culture in the Cayman Islands.   As a child, I would always follow my grandmother around the yard, listening to her stories about many things including bush medicines.  My grand mother lived to a ripe old age of 106 years.  Taking bush medicine for every ailment.  Eating only fish, beans, breadfruit, pumkin and sweet potato.   I have never see her eat rice.  

    She only ate meat or icecream once a year, before she, or any of the family ate meat at christmas time she would give every one wash out to keep from getting colic.   I remember when she was 100 years old her children bought her a refrigerator so that she could have some cold water to drink.  She tanked them, and we thought all was well.  When we checkd the refrigerator a week later, it was unpluged and it was packed to the top inside with sheets, blankets, bed spreds and towells.  Didn,t want any ice cold water, so the linnens had to stay.  She only drank water from a spanish looking clay cooler  which she kept upon a shelf and said belong to "Henry Morgan the Pirate" 

    She religiously drank 4 oz,s of castoroil once every month, that she would call colon clense.  most times she made her own castor oil from the oilnut seeds.   ground fresh coffee and dried bush teas.   I have never seen her with a cold, and her weight was no more than 130 pounds until the day she died, she never had high blood pressure or cholerestal problems,  a strong heart and a quick brain.   I  heard her talk about swine flu, but I never heard of anyone dying from it.  My story may not have anything significant  to many, but to me it mean alot.

    I am saddened by the death of the youngman, who is the son of my friend, however to each one who reads my comments and find them interessting I say be blessed today. and  continue to walk good because we are not perfect.

    Want to have a nice restful sleep with the flu.  Dry some lemon grass. then boil a big pot full., squeeze two fresh limes in it.    When it is cool, sweeten with brown sugar and put in the refrigerator or drink with ice.  

  27. Richard Wadd says:

     This makes one wonder how many persons have been tested as H1N1 ‘Negative’ when they were really ‘Positive’?

    Is the testing that difficult? Or was it perhaps a failed attempt to ‘cover-up’ the facts?

    In the end, the Truth will always come out.

    Still, a sad end for this individual, and a ‘wake-up’ call for all of us.


  28. Egghead says:

     Big big Cover up this situation is very serious all false statements being made  Health Minister better deal with this matter urgently! Heads need to rollnow HSA and Carib Haven Director and Bosses

    • Anonymous says:

      The poor health minister is out of his depth and the swine flu epidemic will only worsen under his leadership.   Step aside Minister and stick to paving roads and parking lots and leave health issues to the professionals to address.  Why do pre-schools remain open? why are summer camps continuing?  Wake up, even "little countries" like Trinidad, Jamaica, and the UK have taken appropriate action in these areas whilst "smarter" Cayman continues to sit on its hands?