First med-evac aborted, new one set to pick up education minister

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Fresh attempts were being made late yesterday to fly out education minister Michael Browne for medical treatment after an air ambulance that was set to do his medical evacuation broke down at the airport around mid-afternoon.
Browne reportedly suffered chest pains and heart complications late Monday night and was taken to hospital for urgent medical care.
There has been no official update from the government on the matter as to when the minister would be leaving Antigua, but sources said efforts were being made to get another air ambulance from Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport. That plane was scheduled to arrive in Antigua at 8:30 p.m. Up to press time it was unconfirmed whether this had happened.
At about 2:15 p.m. yesterday, the minister was transported to the V.C. Bird International Airport in an ambulance and a Learjet 35 air ambulance from Fort Lauderdale was there waiting to transport him to the Cayman Islands.
However, an eyewitness said that about 10 minutes after the pilot started up the business jet for take-off, he had to shut it down due to a mechanical problem believed to be engine related.
Consequently, the mission was aborted and the minister was rushed back to the Mount St. John’s Medical Centre.
Up to last night, MP Browne was still hospitalised, but was stable. Earlier in the day, government sources said he was communicating with family, his staff, friends and supporters.
Meanwhile, Government’s Chief of Staff, Lionel “Max” Hurst, said this is not the first time MP Browne has experienced heart complications but he did not go into further details.
Soon after being taken to the Emergency Room (ER) Monday night, the minister was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
Since his hospitalisation, scores of residents have offered prayers and well wishes for his speedy recovery.
The people have been posting their sentiments on social media since OBSERVER broke the news about his condition Monday evening.
The prime minister’s office had also provided our newsroom with an update in the wee hours of yesterdday.
It stated: “The Hon. Michael Browne is hospitalized and is presently in ICU at the Mount St. John’s Medical Centre. He is in stable condition after experiencing heart complications which require him to be hospitalized.”
It added that the Prime Minister, Gaston Browne, visited the Minister in hospital and started the arrangements with MP Michael Browne’s family to have him transported overseas for further medical treatment.
Monday night, a hospital source who did not want to be named, said that it is quite alarming for the minister to have a heart issue given his age. Also, there was no indication at the time whether he had had any such issue before.
Browne is said to be in his 40s, according to the source.
It’s his second term serving as a Member of Parliament under the Antigua Barbuda Labour Party administration and as minister of education.
Browne is the MP for All Saints West, where he was first elected in June 2014 and reelected in March 2018 when early general elections were held.

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