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Sep 4, 2015

First Rodent Infestation, Now Rat Bites Newborn Baby at Western Regional Hospital

The game between Belize and Canada has just concluded in Toronto, Canada and we’ll have a recap coming up. But in April, this station broke the news of a massive rat infestation at the Western Regional Hospital. Viewers were appalled to learn then that rats had taken over the food pantry which is located right next to the kitchen…and even more appalled to find out that hospital administrators had known about the rat situation and hadn’t moved to address it. The story highlighted the deplorable condition of the pantry where all basic foodstuffs like rice, beans, flour, sugar and even meats were stored. But what we found out today is much, much worse. News Five received reports earlier today that a newborn baby in the maternity ward at the Western Regional Hospital was bitten by a large rat. The newborn was inside what is supposed to be a totally sterile incubator when the rat got in there and inflicted bites on the baby’s toe. We are told that when nurses performed a routine check, they discovered the rat still inside the incubator with the baby. We made contact with the new Director of Health Services Dr. Ramon Figueroa, who confirmed the report.


Ramon Figueroa

On the Phone: Dr. Ramon Figueroa, Director of Health Services

“There was a report that a baby in an incubator was bitten by a rat. Upon investigation, we got the Public Health Department to go in and do an investigation and frankly, we did not see anything in the environment that would be a high risk or an indication that the baby would have any kind of rat infestation. So the only thing that we can conclude is that obviously the construction of the hospital where we have on the ground drainage going under the hospital is probably one of the sites that’s breathing these kinds of vermin. So we are trying to implement measures to ensure that something like this doesn’t occur again, but it is difficult. The construction itself is a problem.”


Mike Rudon

“Sir a situation such as this is frankly quite appalling to those of us in the public who hear about it. A newborn…it is supposed to be a completely sterile environment—not only the maternity ward, but actually in an incubator. I want to ask you how could something like this happen; that a rat would actually get into an incubator?”


On the Phone: Dr. Ramon Figueroa

“If you know how an incubator looks like, there is possibility for…the incubator is set in a way that people can put their hands in and manage a neonate in terms of manipulating the neonate from outside. So there is a way. The problem seems to have been from outside the hospital through some of the vents…the ventilation. It seems like, that’s all we can conclude, that through one of those things, the rat from outside got into the unit and found its way into the incubator through…an incubator is not sealed as I was trying to explain. It is appalling. It is something that is really distressing, but it is not because of the unit itself. The unit itself has been sterilized; in fact, for the last couple of days, it has been sterilized because we have been having some kids with high fever and the Infection Control Unit looked at it and they thought that they needed to sterilize so the place is sterilized. So it seems to me that the rat found a way in from outside into the unit. And while it might be appalling and we certainly agree with that, the problem is the construction of the hospital itself.”

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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