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Apr 6, 2020

Pipersburgh’s Wife Claims Neglect by Health Professionals

Hubert Pipersburgh

While Prime Minister Dean Barrow says that herculean efforts were done to attempt to save him, Pipersburgh’s wife says otherwise. In an emotional Facebook post, Maria Recinos shared her family’s ordeal when they desperately sought medical attention for Pipersburgh. Recinos concludes that based on her experience Belize, is not ready to handle this pandemic. The wife details the chain of events beginning on March twenty-first when Pipersburgh first began showing signs and symptoms. She says that on that day, Pipersburgh began experiencing a sore throat and dry cough. Five days after, he began suffering from a fever, as high as one hundred and three degrees. He also began having difficulty breathing, all symptoms of the virus. Six days later on March twenty-seventh, Recinos says that Pipersburgh’s condition was not improving and as such she decided to contact the Director of Health Services, Doctor Marvin Manzanero. After several questions, Recinos was told that Pipersburgh did not qualify to be tested. On March twenty-ninth, Pipersburgh was taken to La Loma Luz hospital in San Ignacio. The doctor there gave him medication for fever and respiratory issues. The following day, Pipersburgh was taken to Godoy’s Clinic where tests were done and he was sent home. On March thirty-first, Pipersburgh condition worsened. Recinos says that he was in crisis. He was later taken to the Western Regional Hospital where, according to Recinos, no one wanted to treat him since they suspected that he had the virus. He was finally tested and left in an area within the hospital’s compound. Recinos says that on April first, they spent the day in the same situation, without information and proper care. Recinos had to call Health Minister Pablo Marin to get information and it was on April third that Doctor Manzanero contacted her, telling her that the result was positive. Recinos writes, “Throughout the entire morning we were treated with great indifference and little care by the personnel of the hospital, they saw us as delinquents and my husband stopped receiving any attention with relation to his sickness. That entire morning no one did anything for the health of my husband. I pressured my contacts for him to be transferred to Belize City and thanks to Doctor Hidalgo he was finally moved to intensive care at K.H.M.H. and he arrived already in a critical state.” On Saturday, Pipersburgh fought against the disease and on Sunday he lost the battle.  The government says that an investigation of the public health response and medical care given to Pipersburgh as recounted by Recinos has already begun. G.O.B. says that the criticism and complaints as recounted by Recinos are taken very seriously.


Dean Barrow

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“Mr. Pipersburgh’s death is an occasion for mourning. It is also a reminder, coming to us in the worst possible way, of the need for all Belizeans to treat this terrible virus with the grave seriousness it deserves. No one need doubt that such a reminder is necessary. Every day since the declaration of the state of emergency, the police have had to arrest scores of persons for breaking curfew and breaching the stay-at-home and social distancing regulations. The social media pictures of people piled almost on top of one another at the Michael Finnegan market in Belize City yesterday are further and shocking proof of our heedlessness. I can only hope and plea that the tragic death of Mr. Pipersburgh and the announcement early this morning of COVID-19’s fifth confirmed case in Belize, will cause the fundamental change in behavior that is a must if we are to defeat the pandemic. Of course, the Ministry of Health continues to work tirelessly to combat the spread of the virus. Very quickly after his diagnosis, close contacts of Mr. Pipersburgh, both in San Ignacio and Belize City where he worked, were swabbed and tested. That number amounted to 49. Additionally, 41 health care providers from the three medical facilities he visited were also tested. Thankfully, all tests have come back negative.”

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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