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May 21, 2013

How many babies died at the K.H.M.H.?

The most contemptible act of gross negligence is coming out of the nation’s referral hospital. Since last Friday, News Five has been reporting on a number of babies that have died at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital due to infections. After persistent queries, just before Monday’s newscast, the K.H.M.H. made the shocking admission in a release that twelve neonatal deaths had been recorded in the month of May and that the hospital was investigating whether there was an outbreak of a hospital based infection. While the hospital is reporting twelve dead babies in the month, that may only be the proverbial iceberg because other babies died before this month under similar circumstances.  Still yet, why did it take the hospital so long to detect the unusual number of deaths? K.H.M.H. would not comment further today but Duane Moody spoke to the Chair of the Board of the KH.M.H.


Chandra Nisbet-Cansino, Chairlady, Board of Governors, K.H.M.H.

“As a mother and as a nurse, I want to extend my condolences to the moms and families that have lost their little babies. K.H.M.H. is really working feverishly to get to the bottom of it.”


Duane Moody, Reporting

There is an infection outbreak in the neonatal intensive care unit of the nation’s referral hospital which has led to the deaths of twelve babies. That’s the shocking news that came out of the K.H.M.H. late Monday evening following queries by News Five to the hospital administration concerning the many reports of baby deaths allegedly due to a hospital-acquired infection.


Chandra Nisbet-Cansino

Chandra Nisbet-Cansino

“Basically what it seems to be is that there is some sort of resistant bacteria and this, as I am saying, is just what it appears to be that has been afflicting some of the neonates from the neonatal intensive care unit. It is classified as what we call a nosocomial infection which means that it is an infection that you get from within the hospital setting. You go for one thing, but then you get another illness.”


Alarm bells sounded on Friday when Jairo Murcia lost his second son, Josiah, twenty-seven days after he was admitted to the K.H.M.H. for an undeveloped lung. But four days before his untimely death, baby Josiah contracted a bacteria which led to his death.


Jairo Murcia, Father of Deceased Baby [File: May 17th, 2013]

Jairo Murcia

“My son born premature and we ship him from Orange Walk to Belize because they said that they couldn’t handle the problem that he had so we bring ahn dah Belize. We bring ahn and they di treat ahn good and everything. But after twenty-five, twenty-six days, he get sick. The doctors dehn tell me that dah wah bacteria and when we ask them what the bacteria comes from, they said that they don’t know, but dehn di try treat it. And we asked them, how unu wah treat something weh unu noh know where it comes from. So dehn say that the bacteria dehn inside of the room where all the babies dehn deh. And my son just dead this morning.”


And by Monday, two grieving mothers came forth with their loss… their babies died in April, and not along those who died in May.


Katricia Pantin

Katricia Pantin, Mother of Deceased Baby [File: May 18th, 2013]

“All dehn tell me dah from the bleeding; ih ketch wah infection. Infection from where I don’t know, but that’s what they told me.  I left her good the night. That mi shocking to me that that happened. I left her good.”


Marissa Cruz, Mother of Deceased Baby

Marissa Cruz

“I heard that after my baby died, other babies died. Before she even died, there were a set of twins beside her and I wasn’t even aware that the babies were dead already. The incubator was left open. I just went in and looked at my baby. When I was there, the parents of the baby, they were Mennonites, they came in and the dad asked where were the babies that were dead. And so I was wondering which babies; not knowing that the babies were right beside my baby dead.”


The full resources of the Ministry of Health have since been offered to the K.H.M.H. This morning, the Director of Maternal and Child Health, the National Epidemiologist and an Infection Control Expert of the Ministry of Health met with key personnel of the hospital to implement specific measures to control this dangerous infection. According to Cansino, the unit has always been one of the best departments of the hospital and something like this will undo all the good over the years.


Chandra Nisbet-Cansino

“We have infection control procedures and policies in place to make sure we minimize this and to make sure hopefully that this doesn’t happen and to make sure hopefully that it doesn’t happen. So we need to establish if this is indeed the case at the K.H.M.H. and if there is any breakdown in policy or procedure or anything that we need to do; that we do it yesterday.”


Still yet, innocent lives have been lost…but when did the infections begin to surface? And who is responsible for not detecting the unusually high number of deaths? These are just some of the many questions that the families want answers to.


Chandra Nisbet-Cansino

“We like to be aware of situation like these as quickly as possible and so we need to ensure that that information was forthcoming when it should have been and that’s one of the important things that we are trying to get to the bottom of as well today.  We are trying to establish if there was such a mark difference when it was noted and if there was a delay—all of that we are trying to gather information about today.”


Duane Moody

“What is it that you think needs to be done? We can’t be having these things. Maybe because of the congestion, the infection, the bacteria is moving from one baby to the next.”


Chandra Nisbet-Cansino

“You are right Duane. Those are some of the possibilities. We do have a very busy neonatal intensive care unit. The K.H.M.H. has a long term plan to deal with that by opening a unit devoted entirely to pediatrics, but that is a longer term vision for K.H.M.H. so we need to address this as an emergency. We still have yet to establish that this is a nosocomial infection that initiated within the hospital. This is just the assumption at this time. But if it is, there are drastic measures that will be taken.”


The neonatal intensive care unit also known as NICU has since been shut down pending investigations. Duane Moody for News Five.


There is another family whose newborn died under similar circumstances. The father is Ollie Navidad who has made complaints to News Five, but is currently across the border where the mother of the baby is getting medical attention. The unfortunate deaths of the babies is under investigation and on Wednesday morning, two mother will appear on Open Your Eyes with William and I to talk about the circumstances which led to the deaths. 

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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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35 Responses for “How many babies died at the K.H.M.H.?”

  1. 316 says:

    Where is the PM? When 4 criminals were slaughtered he responded fast with a press conference.

    A dozen babies have died at the KHMH over the past weeks. Where is your press conference PM to address Belizeans? WHere is the minister of health?

    Are criminals more important than babies who are the future of our country?

  2. amir says:

    It is a tragedy. The sanitation of the ICU is not only the physical environment but also the air patients breath. Poor preventative maintenance of air quality will lead to serious infections especially in patients with a low immune system. One example is Aspergillus; a fungus whose spores are present in the air we breathe. They are not harmful to healthy humans, but can be a serious threat to people with immune deficiencies – like those being treated in an ICU. If investigation reveals poor air quality; I believe its time to bring charges on the company that does maintenance on the Air Conditioning Units.

  3. Mirna Santillana says:

    I am 100% sure that there was or still has a bacteria in the hospital. I have an experience whereby on the week of April 18th-23rd, 2013 there was a serious case of bacteria in the operating theater rooms at the hospital. My husband was schedule to take a laporascopic surgery at the hospital during this same week and his doctor advised him that he didn’t want to put him at risk in doing his surgery then because they had a contaminated case and the theater’s had been contaminated, he did his surgery the 24th April and everything was fine with him, but I believe that is where the virus/bacteria began. my concern is that the baby ICU is very close to the Surgery Ward and the same corridor where the ICU is. This area is traversed by all patients that are out of surgery and then taken upstairs to the wards. I don’t blame the Doctors for the mishap, I blame management they are the ones that have to have strategic measures in place when something of this nature happens to avoid further contamination that end up in casualties.

  4. Storm says:

    Here is both a terrible, terrible tragedy, and an entirely unacceptable situation. Babies are the treasures of their parents, but also the nation.

    It’s hard to imagine why the leadership at the hospital and the neonatal unit failed to recognize the deadly problem earlier, and fix it before a dozen or more babies died.

    The problem could be as simple as failing to sterilize instruments. Whatever the cause, no more babies should be admitted to that unit to die, until the unit is fixed and tested to make sure it is clean first.

    I’ll credit Nurse Nesbit-Cansino with saying the right things, let’s hope she and the hospital carries out a professional plan.

  5. junito says:

    Ms Cansino should resign if she has any honor. Any other country head would roll. Where is the minister of health? the light bulb man. If i was a parent i would sew this place to the ground. I hope they are getting legal advice.

  6. sue29 says:

    I do agree with you 316 …. where is the PM and the Minister of Health , and his CEO … but may be it is better for them not to comment because it will be a bunch of bull… because that’s all that comes from them in these types of incidents.

  7. cg says:

    Total laziness and disregard for the job they chose to have….you walk into KHMH and the first employees you see are just lounging …. that entire hospital needs to be cleaned up…from the highest boss to the lowest employee

  8. marissa says:

    I think both Doctors as well as management are to be held accountable for the deaths. As doctors they notice that the babies were dying and saw similarities on the babies sickness, they saw that the babies platelets started to decrease and they check and find out it was a virus wiht in the intensive care . They should have brought it up to the management that so many babies are dying , and as management I think they should actually be checking on their doctors how the floor operantes and if they notice a huge amounts of deaths they should have had a meeting with the doctors and check why so many deaths and try to do a clean up but it was left at that, Both are to be held accountable,

  9. CEO says:

    omg…fix it.

  10. TALK IS CHEAP says:


  11. ELgin martinez says:

    All the ..Parents of these .babies should come together to .file a class action suit against the incompetent staff and the GOB.

  12. Phillipa says:

    Parents I am sorry for your loss but I hope and pray you all get together and sue the hospital and he Minister of health because its a shame that so much babies had to die before they realize something was wrong where were the managers walking around with their head in their @$$.

  13. Mel says:

    This is sad. Firstly this sounds like a respiratory infection so the appropriate precautions should have been implemented. Secondly let the people what organism is the cause. Thirdly please educate all guests and families of nosocomial infections and how to reduce its transmission. I hope this is resolved and fixed.

  14. Bear says:

    cg and marissa hit the nail on the head — KHMH has had staff that look and act unprofessional since as long as I can remember. And the failures are of both the medical staff, which is on the frontlines and can see and correct the problem, and it is also on the management, which seems too lazy or unconcerned to manage.

    Instead of sending all of our patients to Guatemala or Merida to get “real” medical treatment, why don;t we just fire everyone at KHMH, and replace them with Guat or Mexican staff. It could only be an improvement!

    I think we can all agree, leadership at KHMH is not up to the job.

  15. James says:

    What did they say KHMH stands for? I don’t remember…is it “Kill Him or Her and Many Humans”???@#$

  16. Bel Can says:

    Absolute Rubish!!!!! These types of situations are totally unacceptable. Shame on every single employee of the KHMH, on the gov of Belize and the media. 12 babies in one month!!! DUH !! Do you think there is a link. Possibly more deaths, come on people! Where are the regulatory bodies following up on these types of incidents? Why is the hospital just acknowledging this issue! Lives could have been saved! KHMH employees!? None of you wondering or worried for the safety of your patients or even your own bloody selves. My God Belize what else will happen! Wake up!!!!! 300 000 sheep we are in this country. It’s sick. Thanks to channel 5 for bringing this to our attention but come on now we are depending on you not to drop the ball. Get in their faces!!! Demand answers provide us with the truth!!! My fellow Belizeans we must demand accountability!

  17. phillybelizean says:

    Such a shame on khmh,please parents of these baby Sue them,

  18. OriginalWoman says:

    How many people die at KHMH period babies, children and adults??? I am sure, it is more than we know about. Mybrother was one of there victims. One year ago, he was released from the hospital for a hand wound that was infected. Upon being admitted, he was told he arrived just in time because the infection was spreading to his blood and body organs. One week later another doctor discharged him with no antibiotics in his possesion, mind you not even a prescription…he died the following week. I KNOW my brother died from proper care in the KHMH. I am coming home this July for a visit and I can honestly say, Belize will never be the same for me again. if anyone in higher positions want more details, i would gladly speak with any of you. This malpractice and negligence has got to stop!!!

  19. OriginalWoman says:

    ****Correction….”I know my brother died from LACK OF PROPER CARE AND NEGLIGENCE AT THE KHMH…*****

  20. sick n tired says:

    scandal after scandal after scandal. if this occurred in Japan the CEO of the hospital would commit suicide, and the minister and ceo of health, and chairlady of the board would all resign immediately out of honor.

  21. John Doe says:

    Really sad…

    Maybe all the lawyers that were backing up Caleb Orozco and the whole UNIBAM movement on the basis of Human Rights SHOULD STEP UP TO REPRESENT THESE MOTHERS and present a LAWSUIT against the AUTHORITIES for MALPRACTICE.

    Lets wait and see how many of them will jump on this. THIS CHILDREN WERE HUMANS AND HAD RIGHTS??? RIGHT???

  22. not again says:

    Why you think the prime minister and minister go to Miami for medical? We cant blame them WE are the STUPID for voting for them. Red and blue they are ALL the same. And what is worst we have to pay the hard way WITH WHAT WE LOVE MORE. Our children. That is why I always condem the voters that sell their votes. Look at the person that you are giving your vote have PRIDE to be BELIZEAN say NO to money for your vote. I dont think that honest and hard working people should pay for LAZY and not very honest vote sellers. All politicians do that and more if desperate. I know of a few from red and blue. Lets stop this and maybe over the years our future will get better.

  23. Da true says:

    My niece contracted two super bacteria (multi resistant) in the Pediatric unit at KHMH in Dec 2012. It was detected and treated at a private hospital in Guatemala through cultures taken at admission (proof that it was NOT acquired at the Guatemalan Hospital). She was hospitalized for TWO weeks and had to receive treatment with phosphomycin. Worse thing was that we couldn’t even find the antibiotic when we returned to Belize which means that those superbacteria at KHMH are resistant to antibiotics that are available in Belize. I reported it to a doctor who works at KHMH in January. But it took 12 deaths for something to be done.

  24. Concerned Mother to Be says:

    First of all condolences to the mothers and families who lost their babies to such a tragic misfortune

    This kind of news is not the kind when I am due to have baby next month. Where do I go when I have lost all faith in KHMH, delivering a child at a private facility such at Belize Medical Associates can be very very costly. What assurance will KHMH provide me and other expecting mothers that’s everything will be okay for us and our babies.

  25. Pasadena Girl says:

    I was at KHMH earlier this month. What i saw was a staff working like dogs with a less than ideal enviroment. The hospital is crumbling and this is suppose to be the place our citizens come for care. For belizeans who live abroad we are quick to judge and think the conditions should be better at KHMH. What we fail to take into account is the lack of basic equiptment needed at this hospital for the staff to do it’s job. The wealthy citizens of belize have no need to visit KHMH and use private hospitals or travel outside Belize for care, they then donate large sums of money to other causes. The government ignores what is happing and keeps cutting the funding. I admire the people who work at that hospital because they do it for the love and desire to help there fellow citizens. My heart goes out to the parents of those babies as a mother i cannot imagine their pain. The PM of belize should be held accountable along with his health minister for allowing KHMH to fall into such a state of neglect, and heartache for the patients and staff. The only way the care at KHMH will improve is for our government to properly fund our only hospital where any belizean citizen can go for care. Prime Minister Barrow i appeal to your sense of duty and love of our country to make the decision to bring KHMH out of the dark ages and give the entire KHMH staff the equiptment and support needed to do there jobs at the level needed to save not just the babies but all patients who walk into that hospital in need of good care. We have enough qualified belizeans practicing medicine in belize to make KHMH the success it can be.

  26. concerned belizean says:

    My condolence to all those who have lost a love one.There is enough blame to go around from the Top go down. The chair of the KHMH board said she just “wanted to find the responsible person and deal with them”, She quickly realized that was not so easy. It is rather difficult to pinpoint blame when a “SYSTEM FAILS.” an this was a huge failure of the system. Like every episode of our human lives we should learn from our mistake. This however is a mistake WE CANNOT AFFORD TO REPEAT.

  27. Madups says:

    my niece was admitted there day before yesterday complaining of a stomach ache,she was schedule for surgery for appendix the following day.When she woke up she was feeling a little better come to find out she had UTI (Urinary Tract Infection).What the !@#$ is wrong with KHMH(Killer Heushner Memorial Hospital…….

  28. Medicalprofessional says:

    I am I agreement of all previous comments, as said before the direct cause of this gross negligence, malpractice and lack of value for life is as a result of the placement of under qualified personnel in these critical areas. Areas such as an Intensive Care Unit housing delicate patients should be equipped with well trained personnel in this specialty area however the Government prefers to invested scholarship funds in less important professions and disregards the need for advanced training in the medical and nursing professions. Additionally the persons being given administrative posts at the Ministry of Health are hired based on political affiliations and not based on their qualifications, instead qualified personnel are not given jobs and are told they are over qualified. imagine having a Master’s Degree and being told you are over qualified by a Ministry personnel and as a result cannot be hired. Food for thought!!! “OVER QUALIFIED??? REALLY”

  29. Medicalprofessional says:

    I am I agreement of all previous comments, as said before the direct cause of this gross negligence, malpractice and lack of value for life is as a result of the placement of under qualified personnel in these critical areas. Areas such as an Intensive Care Unit housing delicate patients should be equipped with well trained personnel in this specialty area however the Government prefers to invested scholarship funds in less important professions and disregards the need for advanced training in the medical and nursing professions. Additionally the persons being given administrative posts at the Ministry of Health are hired based on political affiliations and not based on their qualifications, instead qualified personnel are not given jobs and are told they are over qualified. imagine having a Master’s Degree and being told you are over qualified by a Ministry personnel and as a result cannot be hired. Food for thought!!! “OVER QUALIFIED??? REALLY”

  30. sam dow says:

    The problem with our Health system is that MOH gives @$$ about it. Barrow prefers to spend the money on his personal agenda while neglecting the needs of the mass. You see he goes to the USA for health care “so you all think he cares,” well we are all his fools, like it or not it is what it is.
    and we allow it to happen. When a Government allows the innocent to die, time to stand but Belizan by large do not care, so it will stay the same. I say power to Barrow the Minister of Health, and the CEO of Health on a wonderful job of killing the innocent, along with the rest of the people.

  31. sely says:

    i am the aunt of baby josiah… all our family are very sad of this incident and i agree with a lot of you my sister and bro-in law should sue the hospital for their negligence. i blame the doctor and management for what happend to the baby and of that incident my lil sister is not doing very good she is in a huge trauma and had to take her out of the country. hope something will be done about this.

  32. lena says:

    Its sad to hear about the babies that died at the KHMH Hospital.!!! I’m sorry for these parents, my prayers goes out you guys.
    I can say that I almost expeience the same as you guys, my daughter was a vistim who survived the the” bacteria” .She caught the not once but twice, she wa in the ICU at the KHMH for two months. Myexperience for that two months was like a rollercoaster ride.!! With the grace of GOD she is here as a healthy 5 month baby. she was one of the first babies to come in contact with the “bacteria”.If i would had lost her i don’t know what i would and it’s like i know what thw parents are going through!!
    Parents just keep your heads up and be strong !!!! :)

  33. belizianheat says:

    @ James- It’s Kill Him Murder Her

  34. UWI Staff says:

    UWI Staff says:
    May 21, 2013 at 9:49 pm

    WOW!!!! i cannot believe such a prestigious hospital as KHMH has really gone down the drain. i believe the board of directors of the hospital need to look properly into what is happening instead of only sitting behind desks and trying to cover things up before any one actually does anything about it.
    i agree with many of those who left their responses here on the wall! i especially agree with this particular one that says
    “I REALLY BELIEVE WE NEED TO BRING IN A FIRST-WORLD, AMERICAN OR BRIT, DOCTOR TO OVERSEE HOW OUR HOSPITALS ARE BEING RUN, CLEANED, ETC. Between KHMH and the Northern Regional Hospital, we have too many deadly mistakes, and it seems that babies are paying for those mistakes with their lives.”!!!

    U who call yourselves doctors and nurses and practitioners and pediatricians and all whatever terminologies u want to use, earn the degree or the title you claim you have worker hard to achieve and go the extra miles and let the people of this country look forward to a betterment and great improvement to your services. isn’t that what you claim to have; the best services in the country for it’s people? let us see some hard facts, no simmy dimmy discombobulating terminologies! let us see the results and d hard proof! show the people of this country that you all are not just a pile of mindless stuttering incompetent staff!!!

  35. Concern Citizen says:

    It is difficult to cope with any loss of life and while I feel for those parents who have loss their love ones I would also want to call on the general public in the country of Belize to pool resources together and to try and solve the problem. it is easy to try and find someone to blame when things go wrong but mabey the hospital and the entire Ministry of Health can do with help from everyone in Belize. Let us try and work together to make the KHMH ( The National Referral Hospital) a safer place for all our famalies who must go there for medical assistance.

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