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Oct 13, 2017

C-Section Emergency at Southern Regional: Call for Anesthesiologists

Since the beginning of the week, reports to News Five are that the Southern Regional Hospital in Dangriga saw several patients walk out after being informed that there was no anesthesiologist on duty and no chemicals available to perform gynecological services. Several of these patients have since found alternate places to be checked, but it highlights what Doctor Marvin Manzanero, Director of Health Services for the Ministry of Health, says is an endemic problem – the lack of persons to fill these positions. There is only one Belizean active in this field in the public service, with another being trained for the statutory-managed Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, and the ministry has had to turn to its international partners for assistance.  Doctor Manzanero shares further details and discusses steps that the Ministry took to address the problem.


Marvin Manzanero

Dr. Marvin Manzanero, Director of Health Services

“There is a shortage of anesthesiologists, and that is a topic of discussion we had earlier with Karl Heusner [Memorial Hospital]; it’s a known fact, we can’t shy away from that; we simply don’t have anesthesiologists. We have one in the northern health region for example; we have two for the western health region, and we have one anesthesiologist from the Cuban brigade in the southern health region. Of course, that means that the anesthesiologist can’t be on call twenty-four seven, three hundred and sixty-five days a [year]. So there’s one night when they won’t be on call. On Monday, is when I believed the incident that happened that you are referring to, because that anesthesiologist was on leave – if you’ve worked on the weekend you can’t go twenty-four-seven continuously. As I understand it, and I think that is the case you were referring to, there were three gynecological patients that warranted C-section; those were sent to western health region. Western health region also has one anesthesiologist right now because one is on vacation. And the problem there wasn’t so much that they didn’t have anesthesiology, but they also didn’t have hospital beds, the beds were all occupied, so as I understand it those patients were sent on to Karl Heusner. I believe Karl Heusner kept and did surgery on one of the three patients, and I believe that the other two patients, as I understand it, were referred back because they were not deemed to be emergency surgeries that warranted an emergency C-section.”


To cover the shortage, the Ministry is turning to nurse anesthetists in addition to seeking international hires.

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