The community of Hopkins is mourning the loss of one of their own who passed away last week in an emergency health situation that residents say borders negligence on the part of the health clinic in Hopkins. The patient, Ms. Daniela Mejia Sacasa, died right on the street in front of the PolyClinic in Hopkins Village on the 14th of November 2015. The common law husband had brought the woman on a boat to the village from a small family owned fishing island north of the community, to seek emergency heath care. It was after 9pm in the night and the Community health Clinic was closed and the doctor in charge had already left. One Eyewitness to the ordeal, and community spokesperson Uwahnie Martinez spoke to PlusNews via telephone today to explain what happened.
Uwahnie Martinez, Community Spokesperson Hopkins: Mr. Castillo’s and his wife right in front of the health centre in Hopkins. When I got downstairs the lady, Daniella Sacasa was being placed in a chair in order to be have been able to hold her up while her son tried to keep her alive giving her CPR. During that time common law husband of Daniella was directed to go to the doctor’s residence to call her in order for her to render assistance given the fact that she was supposed to be on call. He went there the first time and he came back and told us that it was the husband that greeted him, and told him that the wife wasn’t available. He went back there again the 2nd time, and he said he was told that, he was directed to the Doctor’s Private Clinic and that was the only way he would be given assistance, if he went to the Private Clinic. At that time Ms. Sacasa was still alive, she was bawling in pain. You could actually see her going through all the pain and a few minutes later she just took her last breath just about 10 o’clock. Still the doctor was nowhere to be seen.
It took some time for a neighbor to rush the patient all the way to the Dangriga Hospital, but by that time, the woman had already passed away. Martinez says that there is need for clearly defined and well publicized protocol for the villagers to know when the Doctor is on call or when she is on leave, as the only doctor in the community also has a private practise for paying customers.
Uwahnie Martinez, Community Spokesperson Hopkins: Given the situation we’ve lost a life because of negligence. It clearly could have been avoided. Whether we can’t say whether she would have still be alive, if all efforts were made, at least that would have put the people grieving at ease. It would have lighten the burden knowing that their relative, their loved one died with a medical personnel trying to save her life. I’m calling on the help, administrators in Dangriga, and in the Ministry of Health in Belmopan to clearly put the protocol up front and make sure that their doctors and nurses are adhering to these protocols. And when they falter there must be consequences. I also believe that an investigation, while the doctor produces an email that she wasn’t called at a certain time in order to have responded to the incident. She was called, the policeman was standing beside me calling her and she didn’t respond and that was all after the common law husband had gone there twice. The policeman had it recorded in the diary at the police station. So now how can that be a valid and valuable excuse?
A letter is currently being drafted by the community to be sent to the Ministry of Health, outlining the issues and seeking an investigation as well as a solution for the Polyclinic situation in Hopkins village.