Hospital Nurse Peggy Opens in Style

Birthing center/maternity wing ready to go in Sandy Bay


Peggy Stranges, probably as close to a saint as our island can claim, looked like she was walking on air yesterday.

Understandable, if you check out the new upstairs at Clinica Esperanza, which betters any health care facility on Roatán.

Thursday afternoon’s dedication brought more than 100 supporters,  volunteers, and health care professionals to the ceremony, and when chairs from the clinic’s waiting room weren’t enough, churches donated the rest.

“I’m the pass-through person,” Peggy told the crowd, refusing to take any credit for completing the project. “This is a gift, and I’m passing it along to you.”

Smoke from grilled chicken and pork filled the air as Connie from Island Saloon slaved over hot coals.

Since it’s Roatán and microphones were in place, we sat through speeches. But they were self-effacing and funny, until Peggy told a story about a young mother who’d recently given birth.

At first things seemed fine, said Peggy. Then complications set in and the baby died Wednesday night, she told the crowd.

“I want to dedicate at least part of this new birthing center to Emily,” she said.

Peggy looked nervous all afternoon. She kept a smile on lock-down, probably because she knew if she let it loose she’d have a perma-grin. Five years she’s been working on this thing, but, in true Peggy fashion, she gave all the credit to everyone else.

“It’s not me,” she told the Reporter. “It’s all the people who believed in it. They’re doing it.”

And she stressed educating the community as the key to enhancing health care on Roatán.

“The clinic is a band-aid on an amputation,” she said, “without education.”

As Dr. Patrick Connell told the crowd, the standard of care on an island like Roatán may not match that in the U.S. “But the standard of caring is greater.”