A 19 year old store clerk from Toledo District is dead and her family wonders whether she could have been saved by health authorities if she had been properly diagnosed in time. Lucia Cal of San Antonio had just moved to Punta Gorda Town to work and had just recently become pregnant. But a simple abdominal pain suffered while on the job was allegedly ignored by attendants at the Punta Gorda Hospital and increased even after she was given medication elsewhere. By the time she reached home, her condition was so grave she had to immediately return to hospital. She was transferred along the health system util she reached Belmopan’s Western regional Hospital where she had an emergency surgery on what turned out to be a ruptured appendix. She died on Monday morning in the Intensive Care Unit at KHMH after she was rushed to Belize City. Her father, Jose Antonio Cal, whom we spoke to on Tuesday in Belize City, told us why the entire system is to blame.
Jose Antonio Cal: She came back down to PG with a serious abdominal pain. At the time that she reach PG, It was too late. I believe the eruption of whatsoever she underwent suffering. We rushed immediately to PG hospital and from there all the way down to Dangriga and end up in Belmopan undergoing a surgery. Now when she underwent that surgery, doctors delayed also. A person having a serious abdominal pain I believe priority should be given to that individual. Attention should be given at a really fast time, when after the surgery took place, she was transferred all again here in Belize City and whereby I believe it’s too late for that individual to have been rendered aid. She ended up right where she started.
The family now says they are considering their legal options and will make a complaint, though they had yet to do so as of the time of the interview. Antonio Cal remembers his second of five children and questions why she had to die.
Jose Antonio Cal: Well the situation I believe I will take it at a high level because she is a young individual and when you look at it, she does not deserve I believe the treatment that was given to her. From here go on we will forward it up and eventually as days go by things suppose to progress.
Reporter: Have you made a formal complaint to the KHMH?
Jose Antonio Cal: Well at this present moment no not as yet, but we are going to forward on it, we are going to carry it on one day a time so I believe that’s what needs to get done
Reporter: Now tell us about Lucia herself. She was 19 years old and what kind of person was she, what kind of life did she lead?
Jose Antonio Cal: Well she was somebody who was always willing, helping. She never do things out of the way, she is always open arms to anybody. There is no way I can say my daughter is an individual who does not respect others. I believe right now all of her friends are grieving on her behalf and its sad to know what exactly took place.
A death certificate has been issued by pathologist Dr. Hugh Sanchez outlining the cause of death as septic shock caused by peritonitis due to the ruptured or perforated appendix. Funeral arrangements are tentatively set for Sunday, September 20.