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May 22, 2013

Enterobacter cloacae killed 7 of 12 infants at K.H.M.H.

The biggest scandal to hit the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital is unraveling. Words cannot describe how the collective conscience of parents, particularly mothers, received the news that twelve newborns died in less than one week at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. Alarm bells were sounded last Friday by grieving parent who spoke to News Five about the death of his innocent twenty-seven day old baby. Two other parents gave gripping testimony on Monday of the deaths of their premature babies…and even more reports are coming from other parents with similar experiences. On Monday, the K.H.M.H. reported that twelve babies had died in the first twenty days of May. The killer of seven of these infants is called enterobacter cloacae. After a meeting with three of the mothers who lost their babies to the bacteria, the Chair of the K.H.M.H. Board of Governors, Chandra Cansino, joined by the hospital’s C.E.O., Francis Gary Longsworth, and Director of Medical Services, Adrian Coye for a media briefing. Would the bacteria wreak havoc in the other units of the hospitals were amongst the first questions asked of Doctor Coye.


Dr. Adrian Coye, Director of Medical Services, K.H.M.H.

Adrian Coye

“We have seen an outbreak of a particular organism, enterobacter cloacae and this organism is not only selecting our Belizean babies, but it is an organism that is responsible for major outbreaks in NICU’s all over the world. In that light, this is part of why we see that even PAHO Washington is sending us assistance; to see and help us analyze the outbreak that we have because it is matching a global trend. We had initially released there were twelve deaths this month which is unusual because the month is not yet done. And twelve deaths that happened were the majority were happening precipitously in the last week. And so this form of outbreak raised alarm bells; adjustments were being made clinically and within the unit, some procedural changes. But in spite of that, we had the high number of tragic loss as alarming as it is and as unfortunate for all because it is very sad for us to see and witness that amount of loss. However of the twelve deaths, only seven have been shown in our analysis to be positive for this organism out of the twelve. So in fact, the initial impression was that all of them had this organism but in fact only seven of them. And so the other deaths happened as a result of prematurity-related issues and not related to this infection. This is not a superbug. The profile of the resistance pattern within the organism we have found is sensitive to antibiotics that we do have in the hospital and made available through the Ministry of Health. So it is not a superbug. But the problem with this type of organism is it’s very fastidious, difficult to clear and there is transmission by direct contact and also by indirect contact. So it can be on the skin of any of us right now in this room, on your clothing material, on stethoscopes, on IV drip stands, the surfaces in the clinical area, etc. And that is again to show you how ubiquitous; all over the place the bugs can be a source. We are implementing an aggressive approach to determining if there is actually an environmental source. So we’ve actually brought in a specialist for the purpose of studying all aspects of our ventilation and all other areas within the unit that can be a source for continued colonization because that is exactly what this organism behaves as—it is an opportunistic infection.”

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23 Responses for “Enterobacter cloacae killed 7 of 12 infants at K.H.M.H.”

  1. loveyravatar...not says:

    @Rough Too much talk, talk and talk, using big words, but not no actions??

  2. sam dow says:

    I do not believe a thing they are saying about how the deaths occurred. We all know that bacteria is every where, and that hospitals pose the biggest problems. the Question is why the unit was not tested. I look at the factors, Personal Hygiene, upkeep of the unit including cleaning, disinfecting equipment, air quality, water quality. Proper protection for staff, disposable (PPE) Gloves, mask,gowns. I could go on!!! Training of medical staff, qualification of staff. To my view only in Belize such things could happen. All the money GOB spends on the ideology of the PM, which is to his benefit only, should be spent on taking care of the ones that need the best care, our babies.

  3. 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.

  4. sam dow says:

    What I ask of the USA Government is that they do not allow any minister form Belize seeking health care to allowed to enter the USA until they fix the problem here. Who supports GOB on the reckless deaths of the innocent babies????

  5. maria says:

    damn shame! how is getting fired? where is the accountability Boards of governors? Where?

  6. salome says:

    only 7 babies died of this ? the Dr. said only 7 of the 12? what is this? these people have lack of responsability BECUASE they know they will NOT loose thier jobs- in a couple of months all this will go away- Belizean style.

  7. James says:

    KHMH = Kill Him or her & Many Humans!!!

    Politicians don’t use KHMH, so why should anyone? Close the damn thing down!!!!

  8. mick says:

    This is a crying shame! Again a national disgrace along with the other disgraces we have found ourselves in recently. This should be a priority and the seeming callousness it is being dealt with leaves much to be desired.
    I have had the opportunity to walk in KHMH and as a person who has many friends in the medical field, I cringe when I walk in there. The place looks and smells unclean, and this is no exaggeration, and it scares me to think that a family member of mine would be hospitalized there. My point here is that the personnel in the hospital, many of them, just do not seem to care. But again it may be because of a lack of resources. There should be an audit of the hospital, by a foreign group, to assess the situation and give recommendations. Not a white paper that would be buried by the authorities but a public document to ensure that the public is made aware.

  9. Charl says:

    The individuals directly involved should be punished to the fullest extent, because you do not play with humans health or life, from the first baby that died they needed to address this concern and seek international help if the GOB cannot provide or have competent people in the ministry of health.

  10. Raging MAD says:

    these guys are spinning more that a tap, enterobacter sounds enteric so it comes from faeces. how did it get there, until that is uncovered Dr Coye is lying to say they have this under control. we need an independent inquiry , how much babies have died since january, and what post mortem were done on these babies, this is far from under control, they are all spin doctors trying to save their jobs.

  11. disownmicountry says:

    Sam Dow, as a health care professional in the US, I totally agree with you. Belizeans living in Belize need to wake up and do for themselves. Don’t be snowed by types; politicians. They are in government for themselves. Overthrow the government and put new blood in place. Elect those who do not need money,well educated and care about Belize. It can be done.

  12. rick says:

    Do you all realize that these doctors and nurses are killers….fire thier @$$ now!!!!!!!11

  13. ceo says:

    I am sure they could have and should have done better but most death in hospitals all over the world are not from the procedure or treatment received but from infection during your stay. I am sure there are no aggressive infection control practices in place at KHMH. They had to wait for 12 to die before they realized there is a problem.

  14. chiefner says:

    we should close that hospital down..the prime minister wife went abroad for medical attention,he knows what is happening over there..

  15. Elgin Martinez says:

    Barrow should be incarcerated with Rios Montt.Damn self- serving dictator.

  16. Elgin Martinez says:

    Lets get the fifteen or so Attorneys that were in favor of the UNIBAM agenda on this case.where are the Pro-bono Attorneys that are trained using Belizean tax dollars to fight for the rights of these innocent babies?

  17. Elgin Martinez says:

    Where are the Pro-bono Attornies that are trained with Belizean Tax-dollars?Lets see if this case is going to be heard in court like the UNIBAM case.

  18. Storm says:

    1. The bacteria killed 7 of the 12 dead babies this month, SO WHAT KILLED THE OTHER FIVE?


    2. EVERY INFANT DEATH should be reviewed by higher-ups, all the way to the top, WITHIN 24 HOURS. How do they wait until 12 babies die before they realize there is a problem?


    3. They say doctors bury their mistakes. I think there must be an independent autopsy for every infant death, even if they die under a doctor’s care. WE NEED IMPARTIAL EYES ON THE DEATHS — the doctor who caused the death can’t be allowed to sign the death certificate!

    4. I’m not a medical professional, but I can research and read well enough, and the sources seem to agree that the bacteria comes mainly from infected water and human feces. Assuming the neonatal ICU has the same water source as the rest of the hospital, the water is not a likely source, unless it is something very close to the faucet in the NICU. That means medical staff who don’t wash their hands — if that is found, those people should not only be fired, but have their licenses revoked.

    5. Sources say that one cause of spreading the disease is re-using catheters between patients. They should be used for one patient only, not many. And instruments must be STERILIZED between patients. Is there an autoclave in the NICU? That’s what is used in modern hospitals to clean instruments.


    I think that manslaughter charges could probably be brought with a proper investigation, and I hope there is one — NOT BY KHMH, NOT BY PABLO MARIN & CO.

  19. Phillipa says:

    What next people what next how much more will we lay on our backs and take form these people?

  20. disown mi country says:

    The entire country of Belize should be outrage & DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. Don’t’ just talk.It is your lives and your children and grandchildren lives. What does it tell you when the PM’s spouse and other ministers & their families seek medical help in other countries. WAKE UP BELIZE!

  21. Hatari says:

    Disgraceful! Going to a local hospital is taking your life in your own hands. Rude, unprofessional assistance combined with a lack of medical knowledge, equipment and supplies is the order of the day. I donate blood on a regular basis and routinely see how unsanitary the conditions are. Some times they don’t even have a band-aid to cover the needle puncture. Ridiculous!

  22. george alamilla says:

    This is pure negligence on the part the medical staff.They know all the procedures to ensure a germ free environment.Wash your hands, sterilize the equipment, use gloves, dispose of contaminated material properly,keep the room air germ free by adding the right a/c filters and clean the floors of all rooms with the necessary bacteria killing solutions like lysol,pine oil,chlorox etc just to name a few.I am certain that they have enough janitors to do the job,but like it will always be, the job is too hard and we prefer to just loiter wround and not work.I see this everything in Corozal and Orange Walk.You see these people all the time, talking but not working.

  23. sam dow says:

    Enterobacter cloacae

    The Pathogen

    Enterobacter cloacae is a rod-shaped, flagellated, opportunistic pathogen that is often contracted during prolonged hospital stays, invasive procedures (including catheterization), treatment in hospital settings greater than two weeks and antibiotic treatment in the past 30 days. Resultant conditions include a wide range of infections, such as bacteremia, endocardtis, septic arthritis, osteomyelitis, skin and soft tissue infections, as well as respiratory and urinary tract infections.

    Enterobacter cloacae is a facultatively anaerobic organism, with the ability to derive energy in both aerobic and anaerobic environments. This is a key factor in the ability of Enterobacter cloacae to adapt to various conditions and resist drugs such as ampicillin and cephalosporins. In the presence of these drugs in particular, the pathogen exhibits the capacity to mutate quickly and form additional strains of drug-resistant bacteria. This ability to adapt to its environment, coupled with notorious resistance to multiple drugs makes Enterobacter cloacae infections exceedingly difficult to manage, bringing with it a mortality rate of 20-46 percent.

    The Problem

    It is often advised that treatment protocols for Enterobacter infections avoid certain antibiotics, particularly third-generation cephalosporins, because of the resistant mutants that can swiftly appear. As such, rapid detection and identification of the pathogen is critical for effective and targeted treatment. Unfortunately, lengthy wait times for conventional cultures often take up to 24 hours or longer to return results. Because of the life-threatening nature of Enterobacter cloacae infections, empirical treatment with ineffective antibiotics might take place while physicians wait 24 hours for test results to confirm the presence of Enterobacter cloacae. This practice could potentially expose patients to ampicillin and cephalosporins and put the Enterobacter cloacae infection at risk of developing a mutation to resist those and other drugs.

    The NanoLogix Solution- Live-threat microorganism detection in 5-6 hours

    In contrast to the 24-hour wait time of conventional Petri cultures, NanoLogix rapid detection and identifcation of live-cell Enterobacter cloacae takes place in an average of 5 to 6 hours. This is 4.8 to 6 times faster than conventional methods, and more accurate and less expensive than PCR protocol. With such dramatically faster result times, NanoLogix gives physicians an ability to treat patients with targeted and effective treatments in a much shorter time frame, increasing the likelihood of patient recovery from infection caused by Enterobacter cloacae.

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