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Aug 6, 2013

San Ignacio Hospital private patient files scattered at old site

The Ministry of Health is still reeling from the effects of the death of thirteen newborns, seven of whom died from a bacterial outbreak at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital in May. A report which was commissioned by the Pan American Health Organization detailed serious structural breakdowns, negligent practices and inadequate attention to basic hygiene. And now there is another critical situation which will without a doubt mire the ministry in more serious controversy, scandal and potential lawsuits. Our News Five team was at the site of the old hospital in San Ignacio this morning and what we found was nothing less than bizarre. Mike Rudon has exclusive coverage of the shocking neglect by health authorities. If you were a patient or staff member of the old San Ignacio Hospital anytime up to late 2009, you might want to pay attention.

 

This dilapidated building in the center of San Ignacio Town is the site of the old hospital. In August 2009 services were relocated to a newer location. But while services were relocated, a lot of items weren’t. The discovery of what was left behind was made by community activist Nancy Marin.

 

Nancy Marin, Community Activist

Nancy Marin

“We were actually scouting for locations, film locations and we were looking for ghosts actually as weird as that sounds. And this is the reason we came to this area to look in, and it was shocking, it was disturbing. I figured people needs to know what is going on here.”

 

The building is open to the public, with doors gaping open and no security. Almost immediately, in a room clearly labeled biohazard, we stumbled onto a cache of vials filled with blood, just piled into containers. Patients’ names were still clearly marked on them. In the next room we found syringes, new and used, just carelessly discarded on the floor along with needles and vials of medicine. We also found clear evidence that the building is being used, probably by drug addicts who left items of clothing and shoes behind.

 

Nancy Marin

“We have two schools in the vicinity. We have sacred heart primary school. We have the Falcon Field were kids come to play basketball, ride their bikes to do everything but more than that we have four crack houses in this neighborhood. It is very dangerous to see the kind of things we just saw I there: syringes, blood samples.”

 

Dr. Misael Ramirez

Dr. Misael Ramirez, Chief of Staff, San Ignacio Hospital

“They are Biohazards, even the blood is low, old but they are biohazards, if they are active or not active, I have no idea. But to me I can consider  those things are biohazards. Anyone who go into that compound and are exposed to those human fluids could get contaminated. And probably those blood could be with some virus or some bacteria or whatever it could be. But the situation is that they are biohazard and I will say that the general public is still going in there, I will say please do not go in.”

 

Dr. Misael Ramirez is the Chief of Staff at the San Ignacio Hospital and currently the acting Regional Manager. He took control after the transition from the old hospital and was absolutely shocked by the footage we showed him. That footage included files…a lot of personal files and medical records for patients and staff which was strewn all over the floor and stacked on shelves. We didn’t have the time to go through even a fraction of them, but those we looked at contained very private and confidential patient details. We even found medical records for the current Mayor of San Ignacio Town.

 

Dr. Misael Ramirez

“I am in shock because I have an experience lately with a patient who came asking for past medical history and I was asking for his files and they cannot find the file here. Now you are stating that old files are there, probably his file still remains there. I don’t know why they don’t bring all the old files.”

 

Nancy Marin

“I don’t see how you can walk out of a property and not be aware of what you are leaving behind. Especially things like medical files from patients. Personally I am hoping to find my file so that I can sue them and I think all Belizean files that are in there should do the same. There are some prominent names that we saw in there, I don’t want to call them out now, These people should know that all their business, all their medical record,everything there is to know about them is open to the public.”

 

Ramirez says that he will deal with the situation as an urgent priority.

 

Dr. Misael Ramirez

“I will get some personnel to go the files and try locate it here. I didn’t know that some files are still remaining there I only found out now. Concerning the biohazard thing I will get other guys to clean out the things and eliminate them in a safe place. I will call my regional manager and explain the situation and what I am doing now. And see how she can address that case with finance if they can place any security company there to take care of that building because we are not capable of taking care of that building.”

 

That building is already known as a hangout for drug addicts in the area. In fact, we found syringes near the gate to the compound when we were leaving.

 

Mike Rudon for News Five.

 

The Chief of Staff says that a decision was taken to discontinue security at the building because they could no longer afford it.

 

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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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5 Responses for “San Ignacio Hospital private patient files scattered at old site”

  1. Al says:

    Say what, this is what I am talking about. This government does not have a set standard for how business is to be conducted in these facilities. Who is in charge of this country. Everything is going to hell, no one gives a darn. We have allowed bad attitude to take over in hospitals and government offices. They way people are treated and talked to by staff in most government offices is disgraceful, now this total lack of privacy and safety in what could be a national hazard is just being shaken off as if nothing is wrong. It is horrible.

  2. sue them says:

    OMG, how in the world mr. ramirez dont know about these files, he’s chieft staff, he should be
    aware of everything that is going on, in and out of that hospital, but ofcourse he dont want to be blame, very incompetent he needs to be fired, he sits there like he dosen’t know, i mean if u can’t find a file and you know you did a tranfer and moving to somewhere else you as chief of staff would make sure ur lazy nurses gather everything old or new use or not use to take with you because these are extreemly important documents, just very careless. i say get rid of his lazy @$$.

  3. macal rivera says:

    SHAME, SHAME ON THE HOSPITAL ADMINISTRATOR, HOW IN THE WORLD THEY LEFT SO MANY PATIENT FILES WITH CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION AFTER MOVING OUT OF THE OLD HOSPITAL.
    DR RAMIREZ SHOULD BE MOVED IMMEDIALTY AND MRS PULIDO GIVEN HER WALKING PAPERS, SINCE THESE TOOK OVER EVERYTHING HAS GONE WRONG IN THE SAN IGNACIO HOSPITAL.
    PLEASE MINISTRY OF HEALTH, MINISTER OF HEALTH, DO SOMETHING ASAP.
    WE CANNOT CONTINUE TO HAVE A ALCOHOLIC, AND A MENTALLY ILL RUNNING THE HOSPITAL.
    MY GUNIS!!! WHAT SHOULD WE EXPECT NEXT!!!!!!!

  4. Concerned says:

    this is such a disgrace, hope my file is not there too!

  5. concerned says:

    This is exactly what this chief of staff has been doing at the hospital. he does not work, and when he does, he shows his gross incompetence. anyone can veryfy by asking for the doctors’ records in the clerk’s office. the records speak for themselves. what i also do not understand is how someone on contract is given the post for chief which is reserved for permanent staff. this guy makes something like 2000 special allowance, tax free, and for what?? check the records!!! gross incompetence!

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