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Jan 14, 2022

Two Pediatric Deaths since 2020: Majority of Children Recover

On Thursday, News Five’s COVID Chronicles looked at pediatric COVID cases and the impact of the virus on families.  Tonight, Duane Moody digs even deeper, looking at the painful reality that there have been two children who did not make it, and how the death of the first child in October of 2020 caused a change in hospital policy at the K.H.M.H.   And while this story has its sad moments, we can be comforted by the realization that the vast majority of children who do get COVID in Belize recover and return to their normal lives.


Dr. Maxsuel Xiloj, Pediatrician

“It has been interesting for us in the pediatric field at K.H.M.H. because when this pandemic started, our numbers weren’t high. We had one or two cases that used to come in during the week with just fever or someone that had had contact with a COVID-positive patient and they were swabbed and sent home. And it was good for us because that meant that our kids were safe, but they were at home.”


Duane Moody, Reporting

But unfortunately, the spread of several variants with higher transmissibility rates has translated into a sharp increase in pediatric COVID cases. At the K.H.M.H. COVID Unit, up to eight children, primarily between twenty-eight days and five years old have been accessing the facility; majority admissions of patients with respiratory illnesses.


Maxsuel Xiloj

Dr. Maxsuel Xiloj

“Some have been admitted because of pneumonia – that has been our chief complaint, pneumonia, our primary diagnosis; pneumonia, secondary to COVID. Sometimes we have at the POI COVID Unit, eight patients, five patients just as the COVID unit admitted for evaluation, for observation, pending results. But that was something uncommon for us.”


Arturo Godoy Jr.

The first child to die from COVID-19 complications in Belize was six-year-old Arturo Godoy Junior, which occurred back on October twenty-fourth, 2020. The infant one student from Orange Walk had an underlying condition; he had been battling with kidney disease for two years, but his COVID status was not readily determined and after being transported from the Northern Regional Hospital to the K.H.M.H., he died within four days – alone and no relative in sight. His father gave a moving interview to News Five back in 2020.


Arturo Godoy Sr.

Arturo Godoy Sr., Father of Deceased [File: October 26th, 2020]

“They came to tell me that I need to move from here because we will be taking the baby to another isolation room. My baby is six years old. He cries for me. I cannot leave my baby right here. Well we can’t do much better, he told me. I told them; miss if my baby is positive, I am positive. And I am willing to go in there to mind him. If you could go, you will go with the adults. You still cannot see him. But I want to be with him. That is all I want. I want to be with him. They told me you cannot do that. Ten o’clock in the night they are calling me, my baby passed away. I told them, Ma’am how my baby passed away. He said that his little heart started to beat fast and they wanted to put the ventilator and blood started to come out. It came out from his eyes and nose and he passed away. If I was there, seeing my son, if he knew I was there I know my baby would still be up because he know I am right there. If I wasn’t there but if somebody was there talking to him, cause he is a little baby. He would know that he is not by myself. If you leave a little baby in a room by himself, how do you think he would feel? If I put you in a room by yourself, three days, two days with nobody to see you, how would you feel? That killed my baby, the pressure of nobody want me, nobody see me.”


The tragic case sparked outrage—and change. Since little Arturo Godoy’s death there has been a policy change and one parent is allowed to accompany a pediatric COVID patient. In fact, this is considered crucial to their care.


Dr. Maxsuel Xiloj

“Now they are allowed to stay inside the room with their kids. Any pediatric patient that is admitted in the COVID unit or PUI COVID-19 Unit, they should have a parent. A parent should be able to stay with their kids if they need anything or they want to be with them, no problem. They can stay with their kids.”


While News Five has not reported any pediatric casualties since then, the acting head of the pediatric unit at the K.H.M.H., Doctor Maxsuel Xiloj, says that there were two other extreme cases at the institution in 2021. Unfortunately, an eleven-year-old boy from the west did not survive.


Dr. Maxsuel Xiloj

“I believe it was in March. We had a patient that died. He was eleven years old and unfortunately, he was a patient with severe COVID symptoms and he died due to a pulmonary embolism which is a complication due to COVID. He began to create blood clots and that clot went up to his lung and there wasn’t much that we could do with him.”


Duane Moody

“Any other severe cases have come since then?”


Dr. Maxsuel Xiloj

“Yes we’ve had. I wouldn’t qualify them as severe but moderate cases with pneumonia; most of them are pneumonia. They stay at the ward about for three to five days and they have been good responses. We manage to send all of them home. It’s only those two cases that I remember seeing a negative or a fatal response or ending.”


Duane Moody for News Five.

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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