Bahamas Doctors and Hospitals: Emergency and Medical Care in the Bahamas

For most conditions medical care is excellent in Nassau and Freeport, but it is limited in other areas. Serious health problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost thousands of dollars. Doctors and hospitals usually expect immediate cash payment for health services. Persons with serious or life-threatening conditions normally must be airlifted to hospitals in the United States for treatment.

Freeport on Grand Bahama Island, has a 100+ bed hospital, the Rand Memorial Hospital. It is a community-type hospital which provides a variety of medical services including medical, surgical, gynecology and obstetrics, pediatrics, accident and emergency, psychiatry, pathology, clinical laboratory and radiology. In addition there are clinics throughout the Island, notably a newly built one in Eight Mile Rock.

There are two major hospitals in Nassau, the Princess Margaret Hospital and Doctors Hospital.

The 400+ bed publicly (government) operated Princess Margaret Hospital includes the following departments: medical, surgical, maternity, intensive care, pediatrics, eye wing, chest wing, private wing including specialist medical, surgical, obstetrical and gynecological services, ambulatory care facility including accident and emergency, general practice and specialty clinics, dialysis units, laboratory including blood bank, x-ray, physiotherapy and pharmacy. According to the U.S. State Department, “There is a chronic shortage of blood at Princess Margaret Hospital in Nassau, where most emergency surgery is performed. Travelers with rare blood types should know the names and locations of possible blood donors should the need arise.”

The 70+ bed privately operated Doctors Hospital deals with acute care. Medical specialties are emergency medicine, ear, nose and throat, general surgery, orthopedic surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, ophthalmology, internal medicine, family medicine, gastroenterology, urology, cardiology, cardiovascular surgery and pediatrics. There are three operating rooms, one with laminar flow, intensive care unit with eight beds, maternity suite with 14 beds, nuclear medicine, electroencephalography. Emergency doctors are on the premises 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The Lyford Cay Hospital (which incorporates the Bahamas Heart Institute) is a 12-bed facility, including a three-bed coronary care unit and four-bed telemetry unit. Among the units are: operating theatre, x-ray and laboratory as well as an emergency room with a doctor on call 24 hours. Specialist treatment is offered in cardiology, internal medicine, family practice, plastic surgery, gynecology and stress echocardiography.

Sandilands Psychiatric Hospital deals with patients with mental illnesses and substance abuse related problems. The hospital includes a maximum-security unit, child and family guidance centre, drug unit, detoxification and evaluation unit, alcoholic unit and day hospital facilities.

The Ministry of Health operates over 10 clinics throughout the Family Islands providing a variety of services. In cases where more medical assistance is needed, patients are flown to Princess Margaret Hospital in Nassau.