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May 22, 2013

K.H.M.H. Board wants answers as to why alarm not sounded quickly

Francis Gary Longsworth

Today, the Board of Governors held an emergency session to find out what happened. And the initial results were shared with the media. But there is still the question of safety and when the NICU will be reopened. According to K.H.M.H. C.E.O., Francis Gary Longsworth that may take some weeks while improvements are being made. But the Board Chairlady says there are other reports that the board is awaiting to see if anyone is to be held culpable for not sounding the alarm.


Francis Gary Longsworth, C.E.O., K.H.M.H.

“Well we want to do some major reorganization and renovations to it. And one of the goals is to expand the clinical area in the NICU immediately…if we can. We anticipate a period of about within a month, hopefully less than that; a matter of two weeks would be appropriate for that to happen. Generally we see between four hundred and fifty to five hundred and fifty patients per year in the NICU. Our annual mortality rate for that unit vary between five percent to fifteen percent with the median being around ten percent. So that’s what we are looking at in terms of survival. We are looking at between eighty-five to ninety-five percent survival rates.”


Chandra Nisbet-Cansino

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

“This press conference is basically to update to you on the epidemiological findings, the preliminary findings that they did yesterday and they presented to us this morning. We still have a process ongoing and we need to get reports from the pediatricians from the ward, from the nurses, from the head of that department to determine if there were any weaknesses in raising alarms and raising flags. We are still in the process of gathering that information and as soon as we have that information available then we will be passing it on. But that information has not been finalized yet. My first instinct was to come here and find the person that is to blame and deal with that person. There are so many more technical issues to that. We got an explanation of the system of the culture; the blood cultures take a week. That is not something that is a deficiency of the lab. A blood culture takes five days to grow and there is no way around that and there is no other way of determining the sensitivity of an organism except by doing a blood culture. And while you are waiting five days for a blood culture result, babies were passing away. And that little cluster of time is where we lost some of the babies without knowing that it was because of this particular bacteria.”

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6 Responses for “K.H.M.H. Board wants answers as to why alarm not sounded quickly”

  1. James says:


  2. Raging MAD says:

    the alarm was sounded from January. , we need to know how many babies died from Jajuary and ccompare these figures to other years. give us the truth not excuses as usual. if this was done in Japan, all the top heavy crew, CEO< MINISTER<CHAIRLADY< CHIEF OF STAFF they would all resign immediately, that is the honorable thing to do.

  3. Bear says:

    Apparently the leadership is proud that only about 10-15% of our newborn babies die at KHMH!

    That’s like playing Russian roulette.

    I think GOB needs to develop a program so that Belizean babies can go to a hospital in Miami to be born and cared for, just like the PM does for his family.

    It’s more of a priority for government to get this right than to hiremurderers in the Ministry of Works and eslewhere, buy new SUVs for the ministers, etc. HOW MUCH IMPROVEMENT COULD WE HAVE SEEN IF PM BARROW WOULD HAVE PUT $60-MILLION INTO IMPROVING HOSPITALS INSTEAD OF FUNDING HIS NEW SLUSH FUND, BIL?

    The man has to go, the sooner the better.

  4. PGGIAL says:

    While it may take five days for cultures and susceptibilities to return, there are preliminary tests that could have been looked at for some indication of infection within the ward. Good hygiene is very important in a hospital but should be close to sterile in the NICU. This is such a travesty that they had to wait for a parent to go to the media before the deaths of TWELVE babies were investigated. I hope that none of my family members ever have to go to KHMH for medical care.

  5. Neville says:

    To the Board of KHMH:

    It’s not a mystery why the alarm was not sounded earlier.

    It is because YOU directors do not demand, oversee, and enforce the highest levels of professional comptence from the nurses or doctors!

    It is because YOU directors have condoned a culture of laxity, lying, corruption and cover-up at the nation’s flagship hospital!

    You should all resign in disgrace.

  6. Victims friend says:

    The responsible people at KHMH are still lying about the start of the virus spreading and babies dying. We have sent documents to the press yesterday that prove that there have been babies (Multiple) dying already in December 2012 for the same reason- septic shock. The number of babies dying of the virus because people at KHMH don’t do their job is much higher than 12 ! Time for corrective actions at the KHMH- this is just not acceptable- how can you guys sleep at night?

    Here a short section of the statement we have delivered to the press- The original statement is much longer and just heartbreaking! Name and details of the mother and her dead baby (including picture) have been communicated to the Press. Here you go- that’s the last part of her story:

    Saturday December 8th, when I spoke to the pediatrician he informed me that my baby was doing so well that by Sunday he expected that she would start feeding. Milk would be given to her directly to her stomach – nasogastric until she would be strong enough to breast feed. I remember expressing the last bit of breast milk with a breast pump so that she would have it when the time came and she would need it. That day I comforted her tiny cries, and she wrapped her big fingers around my small finger and squeezed it, my smile must have been from ear to ear. I left her at 5:30 pm because I was only staying in Belize city and I couldn’t be wondering in the streets too late.

    Sometime during the night, my baby caught an infection, and when I arrived at the hospital, I found her bleeding from her mouth and nose. Her tiny body resembled nothing of the child I left just hours earlier. Her stomach was puffed out, she was stiff and pale and I could do nothing for her, but comfort her, touch her, and sing for her. Her eyes had tears in them, and I cried with her, my tiny child was bleeding inside out. I spoke to the nurse in charge and she said that she had gotten an infection and that she was being given antibiotics, but that was it, that’s all they could do for her. Around 9 o’clock that morning when the pediatrician arrived, and I went to see him, he took me to a separate room, made me sit down, and held his head and lowered his eyes. My heart ached and I knew he had nothing good to tell me. He said my daughter was bleeding out, that she had to be intubated around midnight and that she was not producing urine which was a bad, bad sign, that at that point she might have been even bleeding from her brain and that honestly he did not think that she would make it. Those were the worst words a mother could hear, no hopes that your child will make it.
    I stayed there crying, I didn’t want to lose her. When you get pregnant, never does it cross your mind that your child will die, I remember praying begging God for a miracle to save my baby, but as the hours progressed nothing seemed to work, the bleeding was uncontrollable. Around midday they started to give her blood transfusion but it couldn’t be kept in her body, she kept bleeding from her nose and mouth as I stood there and I could not help her. I feel as if though I failed her, I couldn’t help my baby, I simply stood there watching her die before me. At around 3:20 pm, December 9th, the nurse told me that she was really delicate, that she was not taking in oxygen and she could not put any more in her because if she did, her lungs would rupture, and it was then that she asked me if her father would stop by and see the baby. I told her that he couldn’t, that he would come until Monday, and the look that she gave me made me break into tears crying. That look was she won’t make it for tomorrow.
    I stepped out of the ICU and went into the waiting area where my sister awaited, and I told her about what the nurse had implied, it was like five minutes that I had been there when the nurse came for me and told me to come and hold the baby. At that minute I knew that I was losing her, that my baby was dying, and as I walked with her back to the ICU she informed me that her heart beat was at every five seconds, that she was leaving us, I stepped back into the ICU numb, everything stopped, my only child was dying, and I could do nothing for her. I stood beside her, and it was then that the nurse told me, “She went to heaven.” Simply writing back the words claws at the depths of my heart. Minutes later they gave the baby to me so that I could hold her. As I held her in my arms, I heard air bubbling out her mouth, her last breath, and I cried, like I’ve never cried before. The child I wanted more than life itself, dead in my arms. For a second I almost passed out, I started to see bright lights as I held her there, rocked myself and sang “My precious child” to her one more time. I wiped the blood from her face and I kissed her over and over again. My baby, dead in my arms. I held her for two hours, my dead child, then I thought about what all I had done wrong, could I have done anything different, I felt guilty, she had born prematurely at 28 weeks, had it been my fault, I didn’t know. Nothing showed that my pregnancy was ever at risk.
    The following day, I went to pick the death certificate which marked “septic shock due to neonatal sepsis.” My baby had lived for 12 days, the infection she caught came from the ward and its just so unfair that my baby wasn’t strong enough to fight such a deadly bug in the ward. That day together with her father we went to the morgue to see her, I held her once more and kissed her, and because I could not get myself to let go of her, I cremated her. My baby registered under the name “Name known to Channel 5″ born November 27th, 2012, and died December 9th, 2012. She blessed my life for 12 short days, and I’d give anything to hold her, see her, and touch her one more time. I still don’t know if I could have done something different. The sad thing is that I was told that my baby had gotten that infection from another baby, that there were so many babies at the ICU at the time, that infection was almost unavoidable. My baby died because an infection got to her [a bug klebsiella pheumonea was in the ward] not because she was not getting better on her own. Her death could have been avoided if the proper measures were in place, and it’s so very sad because in my case, she was my only child. Now, I recall one of the days when I stood beside my baby, there had been one time that a man came into the ICU spraying – it had frightened me, and unfortunately I did not question what he had been doing. Later, I learned from another mother whose baby also died that bacteria had been in the ward, that it had been quarantined, and that all the babies had been taken to pediatric ward in the hopes of eliminating the bacteria, the most deadly in the words of one of the nurses. My baby did not have to die, these deaths simply should not happen. My baby was getting better, improving, her lungs were getting better, and she was about to start feeding, if it hadn’t been for the infection that she contracted in the ward, my Girl would be alive.

    May her soul rest in peace.
    Kindest Regards, a grieving mother:

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