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Sep 15, 2005

K.H.M.H. celebrates 10th anniversary

Story PictureIt is a medical institution that gets more than its share of bad press… but what we often fail to mention is that, as the nation’s busiest and most important health facility, the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital handles thousand of cases each year–ranging from gunshot wounds to headaches–with a competent professionalism that cannot be matched anywhere else in Belize. Today the K.H.M.H. marked an important milestone.

Janelle Chanona, Reporting
This week, the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital is celebrating its tenth year of service to the Belizean people. As part of ceremonies held on the grounds this morning, relatives of Dr. Karl Heusner paid tribute to the medical pioneer for whom the institution is named.

Karla Heusner, Great-granddaughter, Dr. Karl Heusner
“So who was this man, this doctor, this person who forty-five years after his death still stands before us, primly decked out in his three piece suit with a mischievous twinkle in his eye? What did he do to leave such an inedible mark on his patients’ lives? Perhaps as importantly for us here today, what does his legacy teach us about the impact one person can make on hundreds or perhaps thousands of people just by doing their job and doing it well.”

On its anniversary, officials maintain that despite some “growing problems”, the K.H.M.H. is the pride of the country’s medical system, providing quality health care with the latest in technology at subsidised rates.

Sandra Hall, C.E.O., Ministry of Health
“We cannot deny that the K.H.M.H. has been through a difficult transition. As we with any life experience, there will always be growing problems. But if we learn from these experiences and build on the lessons learned, then the problems would not have been for naught.”

“I must point out that the same specialists that practice at the K.H.M.H. are the same specialists that you will find at the private institutions and they will cost you more if you go to these private institutions.”

Since opening in September 1995, every week the corridors of the K.H.M.H. are congested with thousands of Belizeans seeking care in areas such as paediatrics, cardiology, obstetrics, orthopaedics… and plans are already underway to now include neuro-surgery, dermatology and endoscopy. With a private ward, three surgical theatres, labour and delivery units and more than one hundred and fifteen beds, the K.H.M.H. is the largest medical facility in Belize.

But beneath the banners and balloons, some of the country’s most scandalous medical snafus have taken place within these hallways: unscreened blood being used in the lab; allegations of deadly medical malpractice in the obstetrics ward, and most recently, the hospital was embarrassed by a mix-up that sent a dead foetus to the laundromat with dirty linens.

Today the hospital remains a public institution managed by the K.H.M.H. Authority and a board of directors. According to board member and Chief Executive Officer, Alvaro Rosado, the mandate and mission of the institution is to continually improve service.

Alvaro Rosado, C.E.O., K.H.M.H.
“The annual operating costs of the K.H.M.H. are approximately nineteen million dollars. This consists of a twelve million dollar cash subvention from the Government of Belize, one million for utilities, which is paid by the Government of Belize, two and a half million worth pharmaceuticals and medical supplies provided by the Government of Belize and half a million dollars in capital contributions, also provided by the Government of Belize. The Government of Belize total contribution is approximately sixteen million dollars in cash and in kind. The K.H.M.H. Authority generates about three million dollars annually through fee for services and through contracts with private entities. With these resources, the K.H.M.H. Authority has been able to consistently devote some one million dollars every year towards the improvement of the physical plant and the acquisition of new equipment.”

Following today’s ceremonies, invited guests were taken on a guided tour of the facility.

The K.H.M.H. Authority board of directors includes Chairman Israel Marin, and members, Dr. Errol Vanzie, Sandra Hall, Christopher Coye, Mark Willoughby, Betty Ann Jones, Reverend Shirley Johnson and hospital C.E.O. Alvaro Rosado.

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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