One teenager is dead and another is fighting for his life after two separate alcohol-related accidents on Santo over the long Easter weekend.

Northern Provincial Hospital (NPH)’s Consultant Surgeon, Dr Basil Leodoro confirmed that both teenagers were under the influence of alcohol at the time of their accidents.

“I can confirm that we lost a teenager over the Easter weekend due to severe injuries that he sustained to his head and chest and the nature of the accident and the circumstances surrounding the crash have been left to the Police but witnesses have confirmed that the driver and the passengers had been consuming alcohol,” Dr Leodoro revealed.

The NPH Emergency Department (ED) was bustling on Friday morning with nurses and doctors trying to do their best to save the young man’s life.

“As we explained to the family, we tried everything we could to save the patient, even as far as putting him on a breathing machine to help keep him alive but it was very clear after our assessment that he needed intensive care support and we currently do not have that service at NPH.

“We don’t have ventilator machines at NPH and so we couldn’t offer that option.

“Sadly, he succumbed to his injuries despite our best efforts and died on Good Friday,” the Doctor said.

Currently, there is no intensive care service in Vanuatu and this severely limits the capacity for patients with serious conditions or injuries to be ventilated on a machine for long periods of time, Daily Post has been told.

“If you add to that the lack in emergency nursing, emergency doctors and emergency support staffs, our ability to manage and treat serious conditions in our hospitals is very limited and attending such emergencies quickly exhausts what scarce resources we have.

“At this point, prevention of injuries is the best way forward,” commented Dr Leodoro.

The second teenager, who had also been reportedly drinking with his friends, was run over by a drunk driver as they were walking home on Easter Sunday.

He sustained massive injuries to his chest and legs and emergency services are being overwhelmed by the sheer nature and number of alcohol related injuries, Doctor Leodoro said.

“We are very aware of the large number of alcohol-related injuries that we see on weekends, long holidays and pay-days and we would like the general public to be smart and stay safe.

“We are all just as important as police, community leaders, chiefs and alcohol distributers; in preventing such serious and fatal injuries,” Dr Leodoro advised.

Daily Post was told that currently, there are no qualified ni-Vanuatu emergency specialists in the country and the Emergency Departments in both NPH and Vila Central Hospital are managed by hard-working nurses and nurse practitioners.

“We rely heavily on good teamwork and the on-call ni-Vanuatu specialists who come in when we call them for help,” says a senior nurse in the emergency department.

“We tried everything for these two boys and we are very sad to lose such a young patient.

“It’s hard but we want everyone to play their role and prevent these accidents.

“Don’t drink and drive or if you drink, stay home!”

Given the large numbers of alcohol related injuries, it is understood that NPH management will be meeting with provincial managers this month to discuss initiatives to address the burden of drink driving and an emergency hospital preparedness plan.