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US tourist injured in Saint Lucia raises thousands on GoFundMe account which criticises local health system

By MERRICK ANDREWS, St. Lucia News Online staff reporter/editor

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Steve Gammons and his family (GoFundMe account)

A GoFundMe account has been created to help with the medical bills of US tourist Steve Gammons who sustained a “traumatic” leg injury while ziplining in Saint Lucia last week.

To date, almost $14,000 of the $35,000 target have been recorded since the fundraising campaign was created on Thursday, May 30, by someone on behalf of his family.

A screen-grab from WFAA

Steve and his wife Kristi Gammons, both of Princeton, Texas, were reportedly on a seven-day Caribbean cruise when their vacation was cut short by Steve’s accident.

WHAT HAPPENED

Jordan Felker, Steve’s daughter, told WFAA television station, that her father’s leg sustained fractures after it was “caught on the zip-lining platform” and that he required surgery by 11 a.m. Saturday, June 1 or risk losing his leg.

The name of the local ziplining company has not been disclosed by WFAA or St. Lucia News Online, however, one company contacted our news team, and stated: “We are confirming that the unfortunate incident did not take place at Rainforest Adventures in Chassin Babonneau.”

CRITICAL OF SAINT LUCIA’S HEALTH SYSTEM

WFAA reported that Saint Lucia has “limited medical amenities” and that an air ambulance was scheduled to fly Steve back home to Collin County in the U.S. The plane was expected to land at McKinney National Airport on Saturday morning and Steve was expected to be immediately rushed to a nearby hospital for surgery, WFAA reported.

Meanwhile, the GoFundMe account titled, ‘Assist Steve Gammons’, was very critical of Saint Lucia’s health-system capability.

The account states: “Steve was on a much needed vacation with his wife Kristi on a cruise. While zip lining Steve surrfered a traumatic injury to his leg and is in St. Lucia at the mercy of their medical team. With being in an international country; the medical system is not what Steve deserves. He is in great need of a emergency medical transport back to the US to suit his medical needs. Also the funds will help any costs associated to his injuries to get him back on his feet. Being a firefighter is Steve’s life. If this injury is not treated properly, it could mean that his career will be in jeopardy.”

Reports are that Gammons, who is a 15-year firefighter and EMT veteran, currently serving as a captain with the Princeton Fire Department.

(6)(16)
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31 comments

  1. Family friend and 30 year paramedic.

    Let’s just set the record straight. First and foremost regarding the Tourist. There was no Alcohol involved in the accident or foolishness on Steve’s part. It was a unfortunate accident. Regarding the healthcare care was much less than what was give. If it were not for his wife (who is a RN/Paramedic) and another family friend and coworker of steve’s (who also is a Firefighter/EMT), Steve’s injury would have been splinted or even had the bleeding stopped. They splinted his leg with nearby boards and stopped the bleeding with what they had on hand. The EMS system was pretty primitive to what we have here in the US.

    The insurance issue is a mute point, because they did have travelers insurance, but on the island it is pay as you play. No treatment without cash in hand. They had to use there cash on hand just to pay the ambulance ride to the hospital and then the ambulance stopped for personal reasons during transport. As far as someone below suggested that they were running a scam to get more money. That’s laughable because the family had plenty of money for the trip as well everything that was needed. The go fund me account was set up for the Medflight cost. His injuries needed immediate surgery within 48 hours. The normal time to get approved for a international Medflight takes 36 to 48 to get insurance approval, permission to land in that country. Steve did not have that kind of time. He had bones sticking out of leg for nearly 18 hours. The account was set up to pay cash for the flight to get to a trauma center so he could have surgery. No Scam was run. Family friends and employers have stepped up to help. The Medflight was taken care to of in less than 12 hours once they were notified. This is really unheard of. Luckily for Steve’s case , He and his wife work part time for GMR (Global Medical Response). GMR is the one who came and got Steve. I’m sure if it was anyone else it would have taken at least 36 hours go get approved and transferred off the island to an appropriate facility.

    So before anyone else starts speaking out of there ASS, about the family or speculate on the family let’s get the facts. The healthcare system there on your tiny island needs some improving, especially your pre-hospital care and aniquated facilities. Maybe the island could get help through the cruise lines to improve it or even the international Red Cross. I know for a fact they will help instruct EMS care.
    The family was treated less than stellar because like I said it’s Pay cash or leave, since the facilities do not take insurances like we do in the US. So if anyone wants to talk facts about what has happened , I will gladly step up and state the facts. As far as St Lucia’s healthcare, it needs work!

    (5)(1)
  2. So many people on here bashing the tourist, regarding his poor insurance or lack thereof and his criticism of our health care system. Let us put the tourist aside for a minute and face our sad reality. We have an extremely poor health care system here in St. Lucia, which is highly lacking. Our hospital is in a mess, the facility is old, outdated, understaffed and the staff overworked. We have to wait hours to be seen by a doctor and on many occasions the equipement is not functioning eg, the xray machines. People die simply because they do not have the money to pay up front for a surgery or medical treatment or no beds. Medical care from all indications is clearly not the government's priority. Tell me how is it that all other tourism and infrustructure projects, to show off to the international community can be completed within the stipulated time, while the medical facilities to serve the island's citizens, drag on for 10 years or more without completion, and no accountabiltiy by those involved. People wake up, rather than being critical of the outsider, let us pressure and agitate the authorites to do the work which we have elected them to do by developing and buidling resilience in our health care system. Yes we are a developing country, yes we lack alot of resources which readily available to the international community, but if we can achieve so much development in other sectors, surely we should be able to do the same for our health care sector.

    (11)(1)
  3. He Travel with no insurance though. With no insurance he couldn't even get a nurse to look at him in the us. So why come criticize a developing nation. I understand our healthcare sticks but with no health insurance he couldn't do much better in the states

    (13)(5)
    • I was looking, where did it say the tourist didn’t have insurance. And I’ve been to the US and have been to the hospital. They have something in place where they can’t turn anyone away in the hospitals. Even if they don’t have insurance.

      (5)(0)
    • He had travel insurance and personal insurance , it was not accepted until verified. Cash in hand. His injuries required immediate treatment at an appropriate facility which was not on the island.

      (3)(0)
  4. yes you damn right blast our health care cause we ourselves they treat us like dogs at Vh. hours before you see a doctor. and when chastanet says he wants to bring this health city cayman doctors or what ever down here yall want to appose it. yall should go read about that hospital. they way they treat you there its like you in a hotel if health cayman was here it would benefit alot of us

    (11)(6)
  5. regretful voter

    Our PM cried about the previous regime not opening the OKEU hospital he said he would open it within his first year. Two years later he was ask about the gentleman who died because there was no emergency services at the OKEU while was receiving dialysis treatment. He coldly said "Has no one died while in dialysis treatment before". Healthcare is not a priority for this government

    (17)(1)
  6. Unfortunately Saint Lucia is a semi failed State. When politicans and self serving heads of OECS Institutions are on XCD 40,000 a month paid for by tax payers it's no wonder there is little left for the ordinary people and basic health care. They continue to pull the wool over the eyes a laclustre population and will sail off into the distance. SAD and immoral.

    (19)(1)
  7. So what part of that report was critical of St. Lucia's health system? The report states:

    "While zip lining Steve surrfered a traumatic injury to his leg and is in St. Lucia at the mercy of their medical team. With being in an international country; the medical system is not what Steve deserves. He is in great need of a emergency medical transport back to the US to suit his medical needs"

    So since when any medical system is tailored to suit any particular person, Steve or whoever? Who determines what Steve deserves? Doen't Tapion have all what Steve deserves? Because I don't know what care Steve is accustomed to.

    Meanwhile St. Lucians busy fighting and quarreling about Steve who may not have had money or insurance in his own country but expect some sort of free air ambulance system to make it back home. If Steve had insurance wouldn't his insurance pay for his air ambulance service rather than being a casualty of GoFundMe?

    As far as i am concerned any person who comes with a hint of bad news for the country some private citizens and media outlets try to blow it up so that the people can dig in to their respective political bases. You people are really stupid people to be responding to dog whistles.

    Me: Whistle on hillbilly.

    (26)(5)
  8. You travel overseas without medical insurance? Doh!!

    (16)(0)
  9. What a ridiculous story from the Gammons family, apparently he didn't touchdown correctly,acted like a fool, didn t used his fireman skills, they were running out of money on their 7 day cruise and decide to run a scam and claim money from St Lucia, how could a fractured go so far where it could be amputated, if so he might have had an infection, that would need surgery, there are rules in zip lining, swing your ass at your own risk ....so it's your fault.

    (24)(6)
  10. Such BS it's all about the moneyyyy. Did he really get hurt ziplining? He's a fire fighter why couldn't his insurance send medivac to pick his butt up? That's because he's insurance is weak not worth it. If he thinks he's coming to pull his scheme on the ziplining Co by suing them sorry we have no money you take it at your own risk. Thank you blessings you have a friend that help you fleece the people for that kind of damage you say you received $35,000 is just the tip of the iceberg,we are not that stupid in little St.Lucia . Let me ask how did you get back to the US?

    (54)(10)
    • The one you don’t want to mess with

      He was flown out of your shithole place by the ems company he works for this also doesn’t say how the exray tech was jerking on his leg trying to move it around to take a picture or how the “ambulance driver” stopped on the way to the hospital went into a building for 10 mins then came out empty handed like wth? Or how he had to pay 15,000 cash up front to get medical attention from y’all? Like where do they do that? And in the us you can go to any hospital in the states with no insurance and be seen by a nurser and doctor and treated and then billed after

      (5)(5)
  11. Truth be told, no one expects when they are in critical need of health care which require medical procedures that the sight and smell of their money is foremost in the mind of the health care giver. This tourist is highlighting what many St Lucians endure on a daily basis. Operations are put on hold until the family pay up front.

    (25)(4)
  12. Good riddence to this crybaby. We want horse race tracks and dolphin circuses not stupid hospitals. Smh.

    (9)(15)
    • Mr coco stop making this about politics! There are new health facilities being built all over the island e.g the new eu hospital, new soufiere hospital, dennery polyclinic, micoud polyclinic not to mention the upgrade of others. So plz do us all a favor and focus on the topic and stop with your party hack behavior. Dolphin park and race tracks are ways to bring in money to the economy but that's for another topic. Not this 1

      (16)(9)
  13. Gotta be careful not to get injured when Ur on holiday in a shithole country. So many people have been on that ziplline tour without injury and this guy manages to damage his leg to the extent of risking amputation. Sounds like he was either drunk or injured him self through his own negligence.

    (36)(6)
    • And a firefighter to bout. ..sounds fishy

      (21)(3)
    • I cannot believe the rude comments about my family member. All of you people need to stop this. It’s no good for my family, especially Steve’s children and wife. This kind of “talk” will no longer be tolerated. I will find out who is doing this and I will stop them. None of you know exactly what happen. I know my uncle and he is one of the most upfront and honest people I know. I do not see him often but I’ve known him my entire life and there’s no why he would ever scam anybody. It was a freak accident. That’s it. You people need to stay out of our family business. Mind your own and leave his family alone.

      (5)(2)
      • Seriously? Your family try to elicit money from people to assist with medical expenses first chance you get by evoking pity and insulting the medical team and you want to come here and talk about rude comments? Everyone knows that they try to make sure they're insured when they go on holiday. No one here would be able to walk into any hospital in the US and seek medical attention without having to pay up front. What makes your case so special? Next time you try to open a gofundme page be mindful that you could solicit money without being rude and insulting! Your family business became ours when your uncle tried to insult our medical team in the name of soliciting funding to help his cause so next time...STAY OUT OF OUR BUSINESS AND WE WILL STAY OUT OF YOURS!

        (0)(2)
        • They never tried eliciting money. Their friends started the page without their knowledge and it’s for friends and family to help donate to get them home. That’s what you do when you care about someone. You try to get them somewhere safe and do whatever you have to to get that done. The family has never bashed St. Lucia. The family has health insurance here in the U.S. Problem is St. Lucia Hospital didn’t accept it, they need money up front. Who carries thousands of dollars on them. Do you?And what about EMTALA? That’s something where you can’t turn anyone away. Even if they don’t have insurance or money. And still the hospital in St. Lucia would not treat him without their money up front. He was never in anyone’s business. He was hurt. He had nothing to do with that page. That’s friends of the community that put that together to get them home. Dumbass. And we never bashed anyone. The go fund me wasn’t even bashing. It was just saying get him the care that he needs. He couldn’t get it there. So like I said before get your facts straight and stay the hell out of our family business. 🖕🏻✌🏻

          (1)(0)
          • No one carries thousands in cash but they surely carry CREDIT CARDS. The statements made on go fund me about the islands system were uncalled for.

            (0)(0)
  14. There is enough blame to go around on both sides don't be buious

    (3)(4)
  15. Martin Sampson

    Now everyone will see the importance of a proper hospital in St Lucia. Chastanet and Guy are playing with our lives only because they have money to go elsewhere.some dummies in St Lucia still have the audacity to defend them . Let me hear the 43% defend them.

    (25)(17)
    • Just what I was thinking. How does your leg get caught in a zip lining platform? Sounds like he sent his body too far while leaning back in the air. Acted a fool, got hurt, now wants to blame the entire country. No locals or tourist ever got hurt before him.

      (22)(5)
    • Start digging into you all hacks pockets and start the trend and Guy and Chastanet will finish up you idiots. Always about the Government I pity you all.

      (10)(1)
    • yeah because the health care system was so good under kenny--not!!!

      (4)(3)
    • 43%?? kenny was trounced by way more than 43%. I am sure you are hoping for more free plywood in the next election because that is all you will get from the slp.

      (4)(0)
    • The money goes into the OECS a bottomless pit of overseas junkets and BS conferences....no wonder the ordinary citizen suffers.

      (0)(0)

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