Buff Bay High School students suffer from fainting spells

Buff Bay High School students suffer from fainting spells

BY EVERARD OWEN Observer correspondent editorial@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, September 22, 2011

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BUFF BAY, Portland — The Portland Health Department has begun its investigations into a mysterious incident at the Buff Bay High School in Western Portland yesterday that resulted in several students being rushed to hospital.

A disturbance reportedly broke out at the school sometime after midday, however, up to late yesterday, no one at the school was able to explain to the Observer where on the school grounds it occurred and what might have caused it.

What has been ascertained is that sometime after lunch, a wave of panic swept the school. Injured and hysterical students were taken to the Buff Bay Community Hospital for treatment.

About 10 of them were waiting to be seen by a doctor when the Observer arrived at the hospital. A number of others had reportedly been tended to. One student was in a wheelchair being taken into the treatment area by a porter.

Shara-Kaye Leigh, one of the children who reportedly fainted during the incident said, "I fainted today. This morning one of my friend fainted at school and I started to cry, I don't know what happened, and when I woke up, I was in the library. A lot of students are affected, and I eat a patty and had a box drink at lunchtime".

Another student, Doneta Archer, said "I was in the library helping and the students started to come in and they were just there, falling, and it was a catastrophe. They were screaming, crying, and it was terrifying. It was after break time".

Naomi Fagan said her granddaughter had preliminary treatment at the community hospital before being sent to the Annotto Bay Hospital. She described what she had observed of the girl's condition. "She not talking, she cyaan walk, and they put her in a taxi to the Annotto Bay Hospital and she not talking. She is in first form. More than 10 come in from I am here, some not talking and dem hardly can manage," she said.

A male student who had a wound just below the right eye said, "some children drop down, and I was standing up at the railing and a feel a stone hit me right here," he said, pointing to the laceration.

Sharon Duncan, a nurse at the Buff Bay community hospital, who is also mother to one of the students at the high school, repeated her daughter's description of events at the school yesterday afternoon.

"She said she saw the children on the ground screaming and rolling and when she started to help, she found herself crying. She started to feel sick as well and fainted. They took her down (to the hospital) and they looked about her and took her home. They (the students) were dizzy. The doctor tell them to drink a lot of water. I don't think it is serious," Duncan added.

When contacted by phone, principal Nadine Molloy-Young told the Observer she was on her way to the Annotto Bay Hospital, where one of the students had been sent.

Molloy-Young said her preliminary understanding was that the mayhem stemmed from a panic attack, and she knows of three students who were injured as a result; one student is an epileptic, another, had fainted, and one boy who got a cut on the face.

She also indicated that other students had fainted, but added that this has been happening from the beginning of the school term due to students being in overcrowded classrooms.

The Portland Health Department is expected to issue a statement today.

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