Two resignations announced at KHMH after neonatal deaths

According to Prime Minister Dean Barrow, perhaps as soon as the end of this week, the final report of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)-led inquiry into the deaths of 13 babies at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital will be released. Here is the status report.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow:
vlcsnap-2013-06-12-19h14m01s26I have been informed by the Chair Person that the draft final report of the PAHO people has been submitted to the Board and PAHO and the Board are going over it with a view to the finalization. It is a draft final document and they are trying to reach the point where they can eliminate the word draft and it will be a final document. That should not take more than another day or two and then the KHMH Board will come to the media and as I understand it, will share that document with the media and the public.

But will heads roll? Two of them, apparently. The Prime Minister said he was as eager as anyone to see justice done.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow:
That’s when I said to the Board, any investigation that takes place – they asked me about the possibility of liability of people suing. I said I don’t care what the liability will be; you are to cover up nothing. You find negligence, you are to identify that negligence and let the people sue and be compensated man. We can’t be playing the fool with a tragedy of those sorts of dimensions. I understand that ahead of this draft, the final report that PAHO has prepared, one person has already resigned, to be confirmed and I understand that a second person even higher up than that person, is about to resign. I don’t yet know what the draft final report says. I gather from the Chair Lady that it does not put the KHMH in good light. Whether it goes to the extent of saying Person A and Person B is negligent, I don’t know, but please, if that is so, then the consequences must follow. Whoever is negligence must face disciplinary action and if there is negligence, compensation must be given to the families. They can’t be no getting away from that and I will never ever try to side step that kind responsibility.

But Minister of Health Pablo Marin appears to continue to enjoy the confidence of the Prime Minister, who distanced him from the hospital’s heavy-handed treatment of mother Marissa Cruz who was kept away from the May 30 press conference after questioning whether the hospital was guilty of negligence.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow:
You are saying that something happened at a meeting that this lady had with the Board and I simply asking you, was the Minister there? He is not a member of the Board. So therefore, how would he be responsible for whatever was said to that lady, assuming you are correct in your identification of what was said. The Minister wasn’t there; he doesn’t sit with the Board.

Geovanni Brackett, Journalist
Sir that’s why I asked the question, if the Minister is not responsible to make an apology to these families, then who should do so then?

Prime Minister Dean Barrow:
Man, I don’t want to go in history – when they broke DFC, when they wrecked Social Security, could DFC be associated with the then Minister of Finance? It is a statutory authority which has autonomy. Of course because the Minister appoints the Board and of course because it’s a public statutory authority, the Government can’t [inaudible] responsibility – that’s why I was there, that’s why I offered my condolences and I continue to do so.

Earlier, P.M. Barrow said that the Minister had personally told him he felt no need to make a statement at the press conference because the Prime Minister was there and had taken on the opening statement.

About the Author