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Oct 13, 2017

Solving Ugly Sight of Dead Bodies Carted Off by Police

Andre Carrillo

Ever wondered why Belize Emergency Response Team doesn’t pick up dead bodies from homes or murder scenes? The image of a police vehicle carrying the covered dead body as relatives cry in the background is sadly a regular image on the daily news, but some believe it’s really a job for the ambulance crew. It’s something BERT coordinator Andre Carrillo says they wouldn’t mind doing with more resources, but there are other considerations, including repeated usage of ambulances for different scenes and health and safety concerns.


Andre Carrillo, National Coordinator, B.E.R.T.

“While we understand the critical issue here, it’s a policy at BERT simply because we understand that police need to do further investigation at the scene, so on the one hand we cannot tie the ambulance up waiting at the scene, which may be a crime scene, and waiting till the police is finished before we transfer. Secondary, we don’t have enough ambulances to be able to deal with those. These are like what we would consider as well a non-emergency, and we would want the ambulance to be on stand-by, prepared to deal with those road traffic accidents and patients who are suffering from cardiac cases: these are the real cases that we need to deal with on a day-to-day basis, and whenever we deal with those non-emergencies, unfortunately, because of a lack of resources, we are not able to provide all those services that we would want to.”


Aaron Humes

“So unless and until you get those resources, would it be best for the police or someone in the Ministry of Health, I guess, to provide vehicles that would be specifically used for those instances?”


Andre Carrillo

“Yes, because there are secondary health care issues that you need to consider when you are transferring a patient, especially in an ambulance, where it’s required at that point in time for that ambulance to respond to another emergency thereafter. Because the ambulance needs to be de-carbonized, and the de-carbonization process can take anywhere from a hour to two hours, and so once the ambulance is down for a de-carbonization or complete cleaning of the ambulance, that unit is down, and that ties up both the emergency medical technicians and the ambulance. So that’s when the secondary ambulance kicks in or the on-call ambulance comes in. when you add a situation like the pink eye outbreak, multiple staff being out, it presents a risky problem for us at BERT.”

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