Saturday, Apr 20, 2019
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Dead teen’s family distraught over ambulance arrival time

The parents of a 15-year-old, who suddenly collapsed and died over the weekend, is raising concern over how long it took for an ambulance to get to him.

Robert Valcom Jr., a student of S.C. McPherson Junior High School, didn’t have any health issues, according to his mother, Wilna Joseph, 35.

Joseph said her son was on a lunch break from his Bahamas Junior Certificate (BJC) preparation classes when he collapsed in the Dairy Queen in the Southwest Plaza on Saturday afternoon.

The distraught mother said it took her less than 10 minutes to arrive at the plaza after receiving the call that her son had passed out.

“…When I reached there, my son’s lifeless body was on the floor and it was hard,” Joseph said with tears in her eyes.

“I was so heartbroken to see him just lying there and they [were] just bumping and bumping him to try get him to breathe, but he wasn’t breathing. When the ambulance [came] they rushed and they put the oxygen on him and they carried him, but it was too late.

“The time limit was 20 minutes [after] a person’s heart stops and his [had stopped for] an hour or more than an hour before they could’ve sent an ambulance…”

Pointing at the funeral home behind her, Joseph added, “If there was an ambulance available at that time, my son would’ve been alive today and I wouldn’t have been in front here right now.”

On Sunday, Public Hospitals Authority (PHA) Director of Communications Judy Terrell told The Nassau Guardian that an ambulance became available 13 minutes after the incident was called in.

“All of our ambulances were already dispatched at other events,” Terrell said.

“The call came in at about [2:10 p.m.] to us but 13 minutes later, we were able to dispatch.

“So, we didn’t dispatch right away.”

Terrell said protocol was followed, which in these situations is to contact Doctors Hospital, however, it was unclear why no ambulance was dispatched from there.

Robert’s father, Robert Valcom Sr., 42, said he feels like he is in a bad dream after losing his only son.

“It’s three days now and I haven’t eaten nothing because nothing going down because that was my heart,” he said.

“I named him after me because I loved this little boy. I always wanted a boy but to find out now I’m by Restview doing funeral arrangements.”

He added: “I can’t even face this. I couldn’t even see him in the morgue this morning. I [told] his mummy [to] go. I don’t even want to see my son like that. That ain’t how it’s supposed to be.”

Valcom called on the government to increase the number of ambulances on the island of New Providence to prevent possible deaths because of delayed emergency vehicles.

Jasper Ward

Staff Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Jasper Ward started The Nassau Guardian in September 2017. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues.
Education: Goldsmith, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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