Princess Alice Hospital
Princess Alice Hospital is located in the picturesque north eastern end of the island in the parish of St.Andrew’s and is the second largest hospital on the island. The hospital was commissioned by Princess Alice countess of Athlone on March 4th 1950. This establishment serves a population of 25,469 people in St Andrews and also that of its surrounding parishes namely St. Patrick’s, St. Johns and St. David’s to a lesser extent.
Originally, there was a pasture approximately five hundred yards to the right of the hospital which members of the community used for playing cricket and football. These activities were a source of entertainment for staff and patients alike. However during the late 90’s the pasture was converted to farm lands as part of what is now known as the Grenada farm school.
There was no public transport system to and from the hospital and as a result, some staff members and patients had to walk to the hospital relying only on rides from members of the community. During the early 2000 there were two (2) buses which transported persons to the hospital.
The institution was managed by one (1) Medical officer, One (1) Matron and one (1) Steward Pharmacist. Those three (3) persons were responsible for the operation/activities that provided patient care and the general running of the hospital.
During the 1950’s and early 60’s nurses had to work a spilt shift. This meant that while they commenced duty at 7:00 a.m., some nurses went off duty at 12 noon and resumed at 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. while others worked from 7:00 am – 4:00 p.m.. The night shift was from 7:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. for two (2) weeks, which was usually tedious. Two (2) nurses covered the night shift; one (1) staff nurse, one (1) nursing assistant/ junior nurse.
The shift later changed to a six (6) hour shift in the day; 7:00 am – 1:00 p.m. or 1:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. with night duty being twelve (12) hour shift, two (2) nights and two (2)off and is currently used even today (2012)
One of the first Matrons to work at Princess Alice Hospital was Matron Taylor. She was succeeded by matron Jennings. Among some of the Matrons who served at Princess Alice Hospital were Ms. Caesar, Ms Theresa Sayers from 1974 – 1980, Ms Avis Theodore, Mrs. Mary Cruickshank Saunders 1986 – 1995 and Mrs. Jeanette Joseph 1995 - 2012.
Among the doctors who served at Princess Alice Hospital, the following person served for long periods. Dr. Rupert Japal, Dr. Lloyd Alexis, Dr. Baird, Dr. Tandra, Dr. Lawrence Gibbs. It can be said that both Dr Alexis and Dr Gibbs provided great support for nurses in the clinical area. One cannot forget the many nights that Dr. Gibbs spent playing cards and other games with the nurses and also doing poetry and art as they spent these long hours on duty. Many psychiatric patients were nursed back to sanity by the supervision and guidance of Dr. Gibbs who gave selflessly to the care of critically ill patients. On many occasions he slept in patients’ room, just to ensure that special care could have been provided.
Some Steward Pharmacist
- Felix Alexander
- Charlie St. Cyr
- Griffin Cummings
- P M D Noel
- Boss Vincent
- Douglas Andrew
- Dave Duncan
- Osbert Charles
Following the 1979 revolution, a number of Cuban doctors were rotated to the institution to provided support to the loan physician Dr. Lawrence Gibbs. There were also a Cuban gynecologist who conducted obstetrics and gynecology clinics at the hospital every Tuesday and an American consultant, Dr. John Zunnerman Medical Consultant who conducted a weekly clinic in which he saw referred patients. The service of the Cuban doctors ended in October 1983 following the intervention. A District Medical Officer clinic was also held at the hospital.
In 1990 the hospital celebrated its 40th anniversary with a one week activity which included tea party, educational sessions and fun day.
The Princess Alice hospital was supported by many individuals and groups. The following are some of the persons that contributed to the up keep of the hospital
Friends of Princess Alice - Group from England which was spearheaded by Matron Saunders, they were engaged in fund raising, Rotary club of St. Andrew’s, British High Commission, La Qua and Sons and many other persons locally and abroad.
with the passage of Hurricane Ivan on 7th September 2004 the hospital lost 75 % of its roof, reducing its bed capacity from 60 – 19. Included in the damage were; the female ward, maternity ward, pediatric ward and physiotherapy department.
The areas once occupied by radiology and laboratory were also damaged; the only section without severe damage was the male ward which after some temporary repairs was used as a clinic. The ambulance service was uninterrupted after the hurricane. All patients at the hospital were discharged or transferred to the GeneralHospital following the passage of the hurricane. The hospital remained disfunctional for several weeks. A French medical team of doctor and nurse (from Martinique) worked at the hospital for a number of days, they also provided some supplies.
Following repairs to the female section of the hospital, patients were once more readmitted to the hospital and there was resumption in normal activities.