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An idea whose time has come

Dear Editor,

St. Maarten is getting more populated by the day, not less; and, the number of vehicular accidents – whether by car, bike or truck, is increasing as anyone can see. Add to this the increase in violence on the island (both sides), and the urgency of having our own trauma centre is becoming more and more clear.

It has been suggested before, but I believe its time has arrived and it is the duty of government to plan it into the budget somehow, some way. We cannot afford to continue flying off-island the trauma cases that we don’t have the expertise to handle.

Flying patients to other countries is potentially dangerous in their condition (and carries risk with it even to ordinary passengers), and it costs money to pay the airline, the hotel for family, the medical facility and specialists. Bear in mind that last-minute travel is always most expensive.

Has money for emergency transportation been set aside by government? Hopefully yes, and so let’s allocate that and whatever other funds are needed to build and maintain a small staff of specialists at our own trauma centre.

Lastly, we are a tourist economy. Many of our tourists are elderly and prone to accident or their health is already compromised. Others would like to make a home here, but have serious doubts about our medical facilities. Providing a trauma centre in St. Maarten would go a long way in allaying the fears of visitors and would-be residents, and would be a winning strategy for all of us.

I believe it’s only a matter of time before we will have such a centre, so why not start planning it now?

Michael G. Peterson

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