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May 10, 2011

Mother wants to bury stillborn, but fetus dumped in trash

A stillborn is found in a trash can at the Western Regional Hospital and tonight the Ministry of Health is under fire from the family. On April twenty-ninth, thirty-three year old Dilma Cano, a resident of Sittee River Village was admitted to ward at the facility after complaining of complications during her pregnancy.  The expectant mother had just entered her third trimester when she had to be rushed for an emergency cesarean to the hospital in the nation’s capital.  Even with the surgery, the delivery was stillborn.  What happened next was a bizarre case of negligence on the part of the hospital administration whose staff discarded the fetus in a garbage heap despite Cano’s request to have a proper funeral service.  The fetus was never placed in a morgue as the mother had expected and the neglect has raised the ire of the family.  Today News Five spoke by phone with, Cano who recounted her experience at the hospital.

Voice of: Dilma Cano, Expectant Mother

“I ended up in Belmopan for emergency C-section because my body was not responding to the medication for induced labor which I wanted.  When I got to Belmopan on Thursday evening the doctor who was on call said that my body was too tired and he wanted me to rest overnight.  So the C-section was scheduled for Friday morning.  As things happened my body started reacting to the medication and I started having contraction after contraction and around 5:45 in the morning on Friday morning I gave birth to my little girl naturally.  The nurse who was there she was kind enough and professional and she took care of me.  She asked me if I wanted to keep my child and I said yes.  Before she left off duty she came back to my room and said Ms. Cano your child is clean, it’s bundled up and it has your name.  It’s labeled and it’s being sent to the morgue so you can pick her up whenever you want whenever you‘re ready.

When I got to the morgue there was nobody at the morgue so I asked whom I should get in touch with.  They told me to get in touch with the attendant.  Finally I found him in the hospital and he told me he wasn’t responsible to let go of bodies from the morgue but that I should call the undertaker.  I called the undertaker and the undertaker came right away and he asked me how he could help.  I told him I wanted my child.  He looked at me and said [that] there are no babies in the morgue and I said yes.  He said that the only baby that was in the morgue I gave that to the parents yesterday and it was a boy.  I said no my baby is a girl and she should be in the morgue since yesterday morning Friday).  He goes into the morgue and looks for my little girl in the freezers and then came out and said there’s no child.  Your child is not in the morgue.  The sensations, the emotions that went through me are indescribable.  I cannot even start to tell you how I feel or how I felt at that precise moment but it’s something that I really, really do not want it to be repeated and I don’t want another mother to go through the same hell I went through.  My sister who was with me at the moment started running around the hospital making calls, asking questions, where could my little girl be?  Much of the morning [past] and past midday finally they found my little baby and I asked where and they told me she was in the garbage dump.  My little girl never made it to the morgue.  She was in the garbage dump since Friday morning to Saturday midday.  It’s bad enough to lose your first child, this was my first pregnancy.  It’s bad enough to lose your first child now imagine how it feels to lose your child a second time due to the carelessness of human beings.”

Director of Health Services, Dr. Michael Pitts responded via press release earlier today confirming that the body was “erroneously misplaced and concluded that the cause was an individual error rather than a systematic error.” The release goes on to say that it was simply an isolated incident and that measures have been put in place to prevent any such reoccurrence.

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16 Responses for “Mother wants to bury stillborn, but fetus dumped in trash”

  1. Also Concerned says:

    Mrs. Cano, I am so sorry for your loss and for the treatment of your little girl. May she RIP.

  2. BZNinCALI says:

    The same culture of indifference that made it okay for the nurse to tell a bleeding bullet ridden patient “Mr. Faber, yoh cud please stop mek noise” & allowed a patient who was not ambulatory to be covered by ants allowed this to happen. Too many of us lose sight of the human beings that exist inside others. These incidents happened at three separate Government run facilities, there is something in our culture that is sapping our people of empathy & we need to stop it.


    Every time someone screams negligence in public places like the hospitals, the blame is usually placed on an individual error rather than a systematic error.

    Fine, but who is to blame for not properly screening the mental ability or capability of a hired person to work in the hospital? Who is training who at the hospital?

    And if the proper procedures in the hospital are to place every dead body, including foetus into the morgue why would this individual in her/his right mind first solution was to dump the foetus into the garbage dump?

  4. Nancy says:

    I really wish the family would sue the hospital. Only then would things really change.

  5. Storm says:

    Isn’t there a crime for abusing or mishandling a corpse? Someone should go to jail for this violation, or at least be fired! We have LOTS of problems in our medical “profession”!!!

  6. Lo says:

    My heart goes out to Mrs. Cano and her family and it is very sad that this happened to her. There is no excuse for this kind of error. Too many “errors” happen at the hospitals in Belize and it’s getting very old and tiring that the hospitals never give a good explanation for their f-ups. I myself have been witness to how people are treated in the health care system of Belize. While not every person in the healthcare field is rude, many times that I have been to the clinics, the staff and nurses are rude. They have big chips on their shoulders and they show no sympathy. And on top of having bad attitudes, they are damn LAZY. Hospital staff need to be better trained on protocol procedures and even as far as to handling patients or families of patients who have just passed away. There is no excuse for errors like these. It’s sickening.

  7. Lo says:

    @ BZinCALI-totally agree with you 100%

  8. la injusticia says:

    can this media ask this question to Dr.michael Pitts.
    1. at what stage a fetus is no longer consider a fetus? smart @$$. if he does not now the answer they should sue him and take his license away.

    2.measures have been put in place to prevent any such reoccurrence. so if measures are being put that means there were no measures in the first place. until this case happened wow we are not ignorant we still have common sense.

    3.There cannot be a systematic error .Why? well if there was a systematic system this will not be happening. so basically this shows based on what happened and the answer the doctor gave that we got to make all the mistakes in the world so that we can put all the systems in i seriously taught we had a better system…

  9. AMAZED says:

    How cold, how callous, how inhuman. Imagine, a baby dumped out with yesterday’s garbage! This is simply unacceptable. Did anyone consider that the baby had a family that loved her and wanted to bury her properly? This is symptomatic of the culture of apathy and disregard that exists in our public service. A complete embarrassment.

  10. Earl Grey says:


    We need to provide the WHOLE “NATAL CARE” PROGRAM …. FROM PRE- to POST .
    MAYBE ………..FOB can start with this kind of assistance.

  11. belizeanpride says:

    I’d say Mrs. Cano sue the hospital for negligence so that they learn how to handle casualties like this and they are dealing with humans not animals to discard the body of a newborn baby like this man, this is really hearting and heartbreaking to read such bad news of individual error why not fire the person so that person gets the sense of how to work in a hospital, they needs profesionalism not amatures.

  12. Never again UDP says:

    how can this be simply an isolated incident? look at the systematic disregard this goverment shows to the health of the Belizean people by not adrressing these recurrent issues.
    today a stillborn baby was dumped in the garbage at the Belmopan Hospital, last week a mother,s baby died in her womb because of a lack of proper health facilities in San Pedro. Remember the baby that perished in PG Hospital due to diarrea and dehydration, and the mother who lost her baby because no one attended to her in San Ignacio Hospital, and who can forget the man who was being eaten by ants in the Orange walk hospital, and the child who died sadly of dengue because she was wrongly diagnosed with apendicitis. has anything come out of the KHMH commision of inquiry, NADA the hustling continues. This looks like a recurrent systematic slap in the face to everyone who needs to go to our public health facilities..

  13. Carlos Cal says:

    When one individual in a system fails, the whole system fails.Isn’t there policies or procedures to follow dealing with stillborn babies? How did that person got hold of that baby from wherever he picked it up? Who did not tell him what was in the bag or why he/she did not check?

  14. ANY says:

    Mrs cano my condolens to you and your family,thats what Belmopan and Belize city hospitals do,i know a lot of difrent cases one of blz city hpL a girl gat surgery for her baby ,a few days laeter she daed because they left a pice of sponge in he stomtch,the other day a young guy came whit one of his ,eyes distroyed and the nurse siad that it is noting ,and to sit and wait out there ,the guy was in big pain so his family took him to a preivit doctor,the doctor said if he did’nt get atended fast ,in a couple minutes later he would have lost both eyes ,those nureses in belmopan have a horoble atitud ,with those woman who are given birth to there babys, pregnant ones, and vaccinating the babys ,especialy if you are spanish ,i think that all of us are human and deserve to be treated much better .THEY ARE NOT TREIANE TO DEAL WITH PEPOLE, THEY ARE TREIAN TO DEAL WITH ANIMALS.

  15. Max says:

    How in the world can this not be a systematic error? That doctor needs to go learn somewhere what it means when there are good systems in place to ensure proper procedures are followed.

  16. jus my two cents says:

    dr pitts need to stop acting like these mistakes are no big deal. every time something like this happens he casually dismisses the incident and then have the gall to make it seem like the victims are making a big deal out of nothing. I hope when is anyone in the government turn he acts the same stupid way.

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