A St. Lucia hospital recovers after devastating fire.

By Julie Saetre 

In the early morning hours of September 9, 2009, a fire broke out at St. Jude Hospital, the second-largest hospital on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia. Three of the hospital’s 47 patients died, the surgical ward was destroyed, and the lab, pediatric ward, laundry and supply area suffered water damage.

In the aftermath, the hospital relocated to a local stadium, where a makeshift operating room and emergency room were created. At the original hospital site, recovery was slow. The St. Lucia government decided to completely renovate the structure, a daunting task within the infrastructure of an island.

In 2021, Bernard Lavater, a cardiologist and member of the Kiwanis Club of Fort-de-France, Martinique, an island just north of St. Lucia, told his fellow members about the lingering challenges faced by St. Jude. And, as Kiwanians do, the club members jumped into action.

The Fort de France club sought partnerships with four area businesses ― medical and surgical service provider TMS, freight company Somotrans, the Marin Marina, and ferry service Capo Rosso ― to collect much-needed medical equipment for the hospital. And in November 2022, a delegation of Fort-de-France Kiwanis members, led by Steeve Tailame, club president, met with St. Jude Hospital Director Liz Altifois to make a special donation.

Thanks to the Kiwanians and their partners, the hospital received an ultrasound machine with accompanying laser printer, an electrocardiograph machine, a stethoscope, a blood pressure monitor, commode chairs, a walker and a reprographics machine.

“Our hospital was destroyed 13 years ago, and we have encountered many difficulties in its reconstruction,” says Altifois. “It is with pleasure that we receive this equipment. We thank all of those who have contributed to this action.”