About Cathy Stovell

A COVID-19 birthday story

Tuesday 19 May 2020: Sixty-eight year old Mark (not his real name), did not have a cold and was not feeling sick but one day he suddenly found it difficult to breathe.

“I was very short of breath. If I took six steps I had to stop to catch my breath,” he says. “My wife wasn’t having me waiting. She said I might be having a heart attack and that I had to go to the hospital.”

Mark was not keen on the idea, but after his wife called the Health Department and they said he needed to get to the Emergency Department right away, he complied.

“I was very weak so they admitted me to the intensive care unit and that’s where I was introduced to the CPAP mask,” he recalls. “It is placed over your nose and mouth and pumps oxygen in at a furious rate. I had never experienced anything like that before. It was scary.

It was so hard for me to breathe. Using the CPAP didn’t hurt me at all. I wasn’t in any pain, but I was scared. If it hadn’t been for the nurses consoling me and calming me down, I may have had to go on a ventilator. And I kept telling them I didn’t want to be on a ventilator,” he says.

Mark says he had not wanted to use the CPAP machine either, but when the ICU doctors and nurses explained that his body was not getting sufficient oxygen, he regarded the CPAP as “the lesser of two evils”.

“Apparently the ventilator is a lot worse,” he says.

So he made an honest effort with the CPAP but doubts he would have made it all the way without the nurses.

“They were wonderful; they were there for me encouraging me every breath of the way. The biggest surprise I had when I was admitted, was to find out that some of the nurses in ICU are praying nurses. They actually prayed with me and over me. That really lifted my spirits and gave me the courage to continue with my CPAP mask. I give all the praise to the nurses there!

While his memory is cloudy, Mark says he had to use the mask for about three days.

“I guess after I came off the CPAP mask everything has been recovery. I haven’t experienced any pain or anything like that.”

However, he was weak and his condition serious enough that he remained in the ICU for 4 weeks. Eager to get better, he says the support and comfort afforded to him by the ICU physicians and nurses renewed his faith and fed his soul.

Elaine Campbell, MD ICU physician

BHB ICU physician Elaine Campbell, MD, was part of Mark’s care team.

On Tuesday 5 May he was discharged from ICU to a general ward. It was a great way to celebrate his 69th birthday and hospital staff were happy too.

“My phone blew up that day with calls from family and friends. I was so glad to be out of ICU and on a general ward that I couldn’t think straight. The hospital kitchen baked me a small cake and the nurses sang happy birthday.”

Although he was happy to move to his new room, he is now looking forward to returning home.

“I thank God for his mercy, his grace and his deliverance from this terrible virus,” he says.

“I feel like I am ready to go home. I don’t feel sick. I don’t think I’m displaying any symptoms or anything like that,” he says. “They want to wean me off the oxygen. I don’t have an expected discharge date yet, but I am talking to you freestyle (i.e. without needing to take a break or use supplemental oxygen), so I am ready to go home.

“If I look out the window, I can see the hill where I stay. I can see the neighbourhood. I am almost home.”

19 May 2020 Home Page, News

BHB road traffic accident statistics from January-April 2020

Friday 15 May 2020: The Bermuda Hospitals Board reports the following road traffic accident statistics for the period 1 January – 30 April 2020:

  • 19 total cases were seen in the Emergency Department of KEMH
  • 3 persons were admitted to to an acute care unit

The full statistics are available in the table above. The low figures are likely due to the shelter in place order for COVID-19, which was in effect at the time.

You can download a pdf of the the table below.

2020 Bermuda Hospitals Board Road Traffic Accident Statistics 1 January – 30 April

2019 Bermuda Hospitals Board Road Traffic Accident Statistics 1 January – 31December

2018 Bermuda Hospitals Board Road Traffic Accident Statistics 1 January – 31December


15 May 2020 Home Page, News

Please wear a mask to the hospital

Wednesday 29 April 2020: Bermuda Hospitals Board (BHB) is asking members of the public who have a cloth mask, to please wear it if they need to come to the hospital. Most people are doing so and we are grateful. When members of the public wear a cloth mask at the hospital, it helps protect hospital staff.

BHB management and staff are committed to our community and want to make it clear that we will not turn people away who do not have, or have forgotten to wear a mask.

29 April 2020 Home Page, News

Don’t delay seeking medical attention for emergencies

Tuesday 28 April 2020: While much attention is rightly and currently on COVID-19 cases, it is important to remember that people continue to have other medical emergencies such as strokes, heart attacks, serious infections, etc. King Edward VII Memorial Hospital’s Emergency Department is open 24 hours every day and urges you not to delay in getting medical attention for any medical emergency you or a loved one may experience.

Please call your doctor or 911, just as you would have before the COVID-19 pandemic. Your condition could worsen if you do not get immediate medical attention.

28 April 2020 Home Page, News

BHB road traffic accident statistics for January to March 2020

Thursday 16 April 2020: Bermuda Hospitals Board road traffic accident statistics for the period 1 January – 31 March 2020 show the following:

  • 88 cases were seen in the Emergency Department (including the Lamb Foggo Urgent Care Centre)
  • 8 people required admission to an acute ward
  • 0  minors were admitted to any ward
  • 1 of the cases seen in Emergency were tourists

You can download a pdf of the statistics by clicking the links below.

2020 Bermuda Hospitals Board Road Traffic Accident Statistics 1 January – 31 January

2020 Bermuda Hospitals Board Road Traffic Accident Statistics 1 January -29 February

2020 Bermuda Hospitals Board Road Traffic Accident Statistics 1 January – 31 March

16 April 2020 Home Page, News

Police, Fire and Regiment salute KEMH staff

Wednesday 15 April 2020: At 7:30 pm on Tuesday 14 April, a motorcade of Police, Fire and Regiment vehicles attended King Edward VII Memorial Hospital to applaud staff for being on the front line of treating Bermuda’s severe COVID-19 patients. The event was timed to coincide with the normal shift change of nursing staff.  See the reaction below of BHB CEO Venetta Symonds.


15 April 2020 Home Page, News

KEMH creates more isolation rooms

Monday 13 April 2020: Bermuda Hospitals Board (BHB) today announces the addition of nine more negative pressure rooms at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital (KEMH). Four additional rooms in the Emergency Department, two operating rooms, two rooms on the Post Anesthesia Care Unit and one additional room on the Dialysis Unit have been converted to negative pressure/isolation rooms.

These nine rooms are in addition to the 28 converted on the Ace Barber Unit, announced last week. (The 28 conversions brought the total negative pressure rooms on the unit to 30, i.e. every room on the unit.)

Creating negative pressure within a room results in the air being confined to that room. This greatly reduces the ability of infection to spread.

The Acute Care Wing opened in 2014 with two negative pressure rooms on each of the three wards and 15 in the Emergency Department. Patients who present or develop infectious conditions in the hospital are routinely housed in isolation rooms.

Black & McDonald, facility manager of the Acute Care Wing (ACW), were able to increase the number of negative pressure rooms through the ACW’s automated building management system.

“We are doing everything we can to help BHB prepare for this pandemic,” said the Black & McDonald Facility Manger for the Acute Care Wing, Warren Moulaison. “Our team of engineers, just like everyone at BHB, is committed to doing our best to serve our Bermuda community.”

“Increasing the number of isolation rooms in the Emergency Department will help us better stem the spread of COVID-19 within the hospital,” said BHB Chief of Emergency and Hyperbarics Chikezie Dean Okereke, MD.

“We are pleased with the progress of our pandemic plan,” said BHB CEO and President Venetta Symonds. “I thank the dedication of staff across our organisation, from the Facilities Departments who expand our negative pressure room capabilities, to our frontline clinical staff, dietary and environmental services staff, our partners in security services and our administrative staff – all of us are working to care for and keep our patients  and employees safe.”

13 April 2020 Home Page, News

Ace Barber Unit converted for pandemic

Wednesday 8 April 2020: Bermuda Hospitals Board (BHB) today announces that all 30 rooms of the Ace Barber Unit in the Acute Care Wing have been converted to negative pressure rooms. This upgrade dramatically decreases the possibility of infection spreading on the ward.

Creating a negative pressure within a room results in the air being confined to that room. The Acute Care Wing opened with two negative pressure rooms on each of its three units and two in the Emergency Department.

These rooms have always been used for patients with infectious conditions – patients who require isolation. They are commonly referred to as isolation rooms.

Black & McDonald, facilities managers of the Acute Care Wing, were able to increase the number of negative pressure rooms through the automated building management system.

“Staff and patient safety is our first priority, having negative pressure rooms enhances our ability to do this,” said BHB Chief of Staff Michael Richmond.  “This is one of several projects we have underway as we prepare for a possible surge in COVID-19 patients.”



8 April 2020 Home Page, News

MWI Services and Mental Wellness During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Friday 3 April 2020: The statement below was given at the Premier’s Press Conference on Friday 3 April by BHB Clinical Psychologist Dr Cherita Rayner.

In an effort to continue to provide appropriate mental health services and limit client presence on the MWI campus, services are being offered in modified ways:

Adult Mental Health

  • MWI is providing individual appointments through telemedicine which may include telephone communication or conducting home visits as appropriate.
  • MWI will be providing clients’ medications via home visits or medisets to limit the need to come to the MWI campus.
    • Teams are going into the community every day; teams are split into an East Team, Central Team and a West Team
    • Medication is also being delivered to clients who call the Acute Community Mental Health Services
  • In a mental health emergency, please contact the crisis line at 239-1111 and you will be given direction.
  • If clients have other concerns please contact Acute Mental Health Services – 249-3432 this is the Clinic Triage Nurse with extended hours of 8am-8pm during the COVID season.
  • The After Hours Resource line is 249-3258.
  • MWI clients who are in the emergency shelter will also have the benefit of staff administering their medications as needed
  • Trained nursing staff, community support workers, and addiction counsellors are being rotated to the shelter to ensure continuity of services and to provide support

Child & Adolescent Service

  • Clients receiving child or adolescent outpatient services are receiving telehealth via numerous platforms.
    • A community support line has been established for children and parents. CAS Community hotline – 249-3370
    • If you have an emergency, please call the CAS main line Mondays to Friday, 9am-5pm. The CAS main line is 239-6344
    • Please call the MWI crisis line after 5pm at 239-1111
    • There remains a team on site to address any emergencies

Turning Point

  • Counsellors remain in regular contact with clients via telephone.
  • Our on-call counsellor remains available for our clients’ needs after hours.
  • New referrals for intake are being triaged via telephone interviews. Please call 239-2038 if an intake appointment is needed.
  • Client medication needs have been addressed

Managing  Your Mental Wellness

  • During times of national emergency, people can experience various levels of mental health concern.
    • General stress, increased anxiety, increased depression, which can lead to increased substance use.
  • As we are now facing the need to shelter at home to protect tour community, we need to be more aware of our emotional response.
  • There are simple steps that we can all take to emotional wellness during this time.
    • Maintain positive social connections with family and friends. Telephone, Skype, Whats App, video and Zoom are excellent ways to feel connected.
    • Try to avoid situations that cause added stress.
    • Structure your day. Change out of your PJ’s; set up a dedicated work space; maintain a “knock off time” if working from home.
    • Remind yourself that this period of isolation is temporary.
    • Stay connected to accurate and reliable information to assist in reducing anxiety.
    • Take breaks from the news and social media.
    • If sheltering with family plan fun activities; create a roster to complete household chores; try to have time to yourselves.
  • Monitor your emotional health and reach out for support as needed
3 April 2020 Home Page, News