COLA announce further findings in KHMH baby deaths

Today Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA) held a press conference announcing further findings of its review of the response by the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) to the deaths of 13 premature babies in its Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). The issue has provoked much outrage and the organization today said it would protest in front of the hospital grounds on Thursday. President Giovanni Brackett tells us why.

Giovanni Brackett – President COLA:
vlcsnap-2013-06-04-20h37m32s27The objective of the protest will be first of all, to have somebody be held accountable and the only way that can be done is if you have an independent investigative team. You can’t have the rat mind the cheese; meaning you can’t have the same folks who are to be investigated, investigate themselves. Secondly, they should not be burning infectious waste in front of the hospital in a residential area; they should not be doing that. We have been reliably informed that they don’t have proper filtration system and if those are infections in the air and that is being pulled into the hospital, what is it there to say that that is not a constant source of infection. The third thing is that somebody’s head needs to roll and needs to roll quickly. 

vlcsnap-2013-06-04-20h36m52s86Earlier in the press conference, Brackett presented a line-by-line response to the statements of the participants in the May 30 press conference, charging that CEO Dr. Gary Longsworth, Director of Medical Services Dr. Adrian Coye, Chairman of the Board of Governors Chandra Nisbet Cansino and visiting specialist from Chile Dr. Ricardo Bustamante answered few of the burning questions Belizeans have, like how the Enterobacter cloacae bacterium got into the sterilized ICU after it was cleaned following its first discovery in February, and what the hospital is doing to ensure that does not happen again. He reserved his strongest ire for the chain of command that he says fell down, allowing three babies to die before the hospital began to respond.

Giovanni Brackett – President COLA:
The chain of command – the nurses and other staff report to the pediatricians, who report to the head of department Dr. Mirta Ochoa, who reports to Dr. Coye, who reports to Dr. Longsworth, who in turn reports to the Board and who reports to the Ministry, who reports to the Minister, who reports to the Prime Minister, except somebody didn’t report. Who? Also, there is the quality assurance coordinator Nurse Delsie Lizama, someone with nearly three decades of experience and a trustworthy Belizean, why haven’t we heard from her or from the Director of Nursing Services Mavis Palacio? 

Vice-President Gilroy Usher Jr. spoke of how the families should be compensated for their loss.

Gilroy Usher Jr – Vice-President COLA:
vlcsnap-2013-06-04-20h38m36s160Nobody is talking about this; compensation for the fact that the very least, a case can be made for criminal negligence. We need a criminal investigation and the hospital needs to address the issue to the families. At the very least, they can be forgiven and the given the bills. None of us know what those children may have grown up to be and we will never know, because their lives were taken from them. So at least that has to be considered. That’s not a lot of money. You are getting $500,000 from the Government for the NICU; it can’t be more than $100,000 between those families for their bills. Give them that money back at least.

Also speaking were COLA Director of National Security Murphy McLaren and adviser Rufus X.

At Cola’s Press conference today, COLA president Giovannie Brackett spoke about the KHMH’s resumption of using its in-house incinerator to burn medical waste, reportedly at night, causing upset for area residents. Today,  Mr Brackett said that such burning does have an impact that can be avoided.

Giovanni Brackett – President COLA:
vlcsnap-2013-06-03-22h09m22s98This incinerator burning of infectious waste was halted during the time of Dr Rosado as CEO, and for some reason had recommenced.  This cannot be no linger the case.  Under international standards and EPA standards, the burning of infectious waste should not be done in a residential area, worse in an area that has 4 or 5 schools, restaurants, and people moving and living in that area. An expert we have consulted says that the KHMH incinerator, which is located right next to the main entrance to the hospital, can spread toxic and smell gases to a wide section of the Northside and even Southside.  It breaks all ethics and standards to have it there and no-one knows who designed it or what is being done to ensure that it works properly. Belize Waste Control used to burn  KHMH waste at their site, but they fell out over the use of diesel fuel, which is cleaner versus gasoline.  Our beauty in which KHMH uses as to what we’ve been informed.

Mr Brackett also spoke of the practices of regional hospitals which he says are even worse violators of environmental standards.

Giovanni Brackett – President COLA:
Even worse, the regional hospitals openly burn their medical waste at the nearest dump site, and KHMH used to do it as well until they were caught.  The burning released dioxins and chemicals that infect food and water supply.  Where is the Department of the Environment, The Department of Public Health, and the Caribbean Climate Change Center, which should be monitoring this. According to our information, the only company that has the technology or the equipment to test the air pollution properly is BNE, and according to our sources are the only company that is equipped to do so.

Caribbean Shores Area Rep, Santino Castillo, told us Tuesday that he planned to discuss the matter in Cabinet  that day.

About the Author