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Oct 22, 2012

Allegations of Malpractice at Northern Regional Hospital; one mother speaks

As we reported on Friday, there are serious allegations of medical malpractice at the Northern Regional Hospital that are being compounded by ministerial interference. A number of female patients who have undergone surgery in the past two months developed life threatening complications. Tonight we speak to one patient, who recently delivered a baby and who has suffered two comas, pneumonia and a lung infection since then. In her seventh month of pregnancy, Alicia Pott says she was told she was diabetic and was to have a c-section before her due date; that never happened. Instead, she completed her pregnancy and the complications developed. News Five’s Delahnie Bain has her sad story.

 

Delahnie Bain, Reporting

A thirty-one year old mother of two gave birth to a baby boy on October second and since then she has spent only a few minutes with her newborn because she has been in and out the hospital. Alicia Pott is one of several women who have had serious complications during and after childbirth at the Northern Regional Hospital in Orange Walk. She ended up having to undergo a hysterectomy.

 

Alicia Pott

Alicia Pott, Alleges Medical Malpractice

“I gone een fi wah normal delivery and after—that was about eight-thirty in the morning—and about one-thirty they tell me I have to go een fi wah c-section because di baby can’t come out. From there, they rush me eena di theatre for the c-section and when they tek out di baby, dehn ker me eena di recuperation room. After maybe about an hour after that, the doctor seh dat I mi have heavy bleeding. Dehn ker me back eena di theatre and when dehn do wah next check up dehn tell me dehn have to remove my womb. And when dehn ker me fi remove my womb dat dah when dehn put me fi sleep and from deh I noh remember what happen.”

 

Edward Garnett, Common-Law-Husband of Alicia Pott

“They took out her womb and I was there from the beginning to the end up until today and I as the husband—we’re not married, but we’re common-law for fifteen years—I wasn’t, nobody come to me and tell me nothing until when they tell me that I need to go to Belize in the ambulance. Putting my wife in the ambulance to get her ready to go to Belize City one of the nurse asked if we’re going to take a next bag of blood for replacement. She seh we done give dis gial enough blood already, we can’t do no more. So I went in the ambulance, we took off and I was always peaking in the back because I went to the front. But I was always peaking in the back to see what’s taking place with my wife in the back. Before we reached Ladyville, the bag of blood done.”

 

Edward Garnett

According to Pott’s common-law-husband, Edward Garnett, the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital was not prepared to receive her because the Northern Regional hospital did not notify them of the transfer. Nonetheless, she underwent another round of surgery and woke up after three days in a coma.

 

Alicia Pott

“When I open my eyes dehn tell me dat dehn mi have to open di c-section for the third time and dehn mi have to remove one ah my ovaries so di bleeding could ah mi stop. Afta dat, I gone eena coma fi three days again because I mi ketch pneumonia sake ah di same infection weh I mi got.”

 

Edward Garnett

“When I wake up in the morning and I went to see her they said she is very critical that she could pass out and she’s very strong because when she reached she was almost dead. So the doctor told me that they will try their best and one of the doctors told me that she came to the hospital messed up.”

 

But even after being discharged from the K.H.M.H., Pott continued to have pain and opted to go to a private doctor at the Northern Medical Plaza. She is now in recovery, but says her baby was also affected by the delay in the delivery.

 

Alicia Pott

“The baby is doing well and because dehn mi tek long to tek him out, he was in incubator too because ih mi drink some ah di water and he was about three days in the hospital too.  Dis noh only affect me; dis has affected me, my husband, my daughter—my seven year old daughter. Almost one month I noh see her nor di baby and I think this have to stop because it’s not only me. It’s many more women out deh and I can’t explain di feelings I have right now towards those people.”

 

Edward Garnett

“I think this is really, really ridiculous and I think we need to put a stop to this and we need some justice because we are self employed and mein I’m the father and mother right now at home, I need to put bread on the table and it’s really hard mein, it’s really, really hurt.”

 

Dr. Marco Tulio Mendez has also discovered that the newborn suffered brain damage. As a doctor and the area representative for Orange Walk East, he has stepped in to advocate for the affected women.

 

Dr. Marco Tulio Mendez, Area Representative

Marco Tulio Mendez

“First of all, I already sent a letter to the Belize Medical and Dental Association and also to the Medical Council seeking for them to intervene because this needs urgent care and assistance because of so many cases that are being implicated in the Northern Regional Hospital. I’m also going to be addressing the letter to the Minister and the Director of Health Services and the C.E.O. that this needs to stop urgently or persons that are involved need to be placed on administrative leave and immediate investigations supposed to start.”

 

The problems at the hospital began a few months ago and Mendez says it is a result of the transfer of the previous anesthesiologist and obstetrician, which he believes was a vindictive move by the Minister of Health.

 

Dr. Marco Tulio Mendez

“When I heard about this transfer, I voiced my opinion and my concerns on many radio stations and even in the House of Representatives, I brought it up during an adjournment; why are we transferring Belizean doctors, Corozaleños, well trained dedicated doctors who have shown their capacity to resolve their problems in the Northern Regional Hospital. The people of Orange Walk and Corozal have definitely benefited from that health care. What the minister stated on that occasion was that he was transferring those good doctors and bringing some other good doctors. I wanted to see if he was transferring these doctors if there was any wrong doings that they had done, if there was any unethical practice, any mal practice that they had done; nothing come out. I think that the transfer that he was doing was very I would say a personal, vindictive decision that he did.  Yes, we have a huge problem eena di hospital; of the northern region and it is part of the decision that the Minister of Health took and he is supposed to be now very concerned about how to manage this the best way possible for our people.”

 

A meeting was to be held at Pott and Garnett’s home on Sunday in which the doctors said they would explain what happened at the hospital. But according to Garnett, no one showed up.

 

The Ministry of Health, on the advice of the Solicitor General, is not commenting on the allegations since an investigation is ongoing and the affected families are contemplating legal action. We were told, however, that the ministry’s management personnel have been deployed to the hospital and a press release is expected by the end of the week. Meanwhile, the Belize Medical and Dental Association has planned an emergency meeting to discuss the issue and will also make their position known later this week.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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8 Responses for “Allegations of Malpractice at Northern Regional Hospital; one mother speaks”

  1. Storm says:

    The law should require that the Minister of Health be a physician, just like the Attorney General must be a lawyer. It’s not necessary and probably not even desirable, for ministers to be members of the Assembly.

    The Minister of Health makes decisions that potentially affect medical procedures every day — yet he is not trained in medicine. In what other country would that be possible?

  2. liz29 says:

    The people of Corozal and Orange Walk Districts need to go to the streets and demand better health care services and the removal of the Doctor and the incompetent administrator, because nothing will come out of the investigation as the Doctor involve is very close to the minister and the manager is his cousin .

  3. ashamed says:

    The Minister and the chairman of the Belize Medical Council are both responsible for all of this, they gave this person a liscense to practice medicine in Belize. Politics in medicine will always result in poor people dying. I am sure no other country in the world has a wire man for Minister of Health, but where do the Barrow’s go for healthcare, and the Finnegan’s. Miami, Houston,Detroit. you think they give a damn about Ms Pott and what happens at OW hospital.

  4. Dr. ER says:

    So very true what Storm said. The current Minister of Health is, up to my knowledge, a sixth form graduate and before entering the political arena his career was that of an electrician. And even if this information that I have heard regarding Mr. Pablo Marin is not completely true, to ensure proper leadership is at the head of the Ministry of Health said leader has to be properly trained (be a physician or have a degree in public health at least).

  5. Steel says:

    Steel, you have a point. Makes a lot of sense.

  6. Bongo says:

    This is just another example or our corrupt government placing incompetent people in important positions in our country. The end result is that out people continue to suffer and die without out PM blinking an eye. People we need to start standing up for ourselves and stop being so complacent about the things that are destroying us as a people. Soon we will find ourselves in a position like the people of Swaziland in Africa, or probably just start calling ourselves Guatemaltecos…..and of course Guatemala will not give us the right to vote as we have shown a poor ability to be able to govern and protect ourselves and our own interests.

  7. Voice 1 says:

    These recent malpractices along with all the deficiencies of our health system are merely a result of a negligent and incompetent administration. Added to this is the lack of an autonomous regulating body for the professionals who practice medicine in our country. The medical council who is supposed to take this role is nothing more than a group of politically appointed individuals who are there for personal interests ( ALL Belizeans by the way). Let us not loose focus people, this is not a matter of nationality it is a matter of ethics, of knowledge and morale …we have good and bad practitioners both nationals and foreigners. If the minister still has a little bit of dignity he will TERMINATE this nameless individual’s contract and those who prove responsible. ….including his relative who is playing to be an administrator.

  8. MINDUNUBUSINESS says:

    all a unu weh d call d minister “WIREMAN” nun complain, u all were happy when election time. nuh complain, and if he is a wireman so what. He should come shock all a unu. as fu Dr. Mendez, he is only on camera making an a#4 of himself as per usual in politics. UDP all the way. Hooray for Minister PABLO MARIN. my minister

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