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Dec 4, 2012

Baby Harmony dies less than 24 hours after birth

The Northern Regional Hospital has been in the news for months now because a number of women and their newborns have experienced life-threatening complications after receiving treatment at the hospital. Just this Friday, the area representative for Orange Walk East, Doctor Marco Tulio Mendez, raised the matter in the House of Representatives, but did not get any satisfactory response from the Minister of Health, Pablo Marin. While a number of the affected women and babies have been scarred for life, a newborn has died in suspect circumstances. Tonight, the family tells Duane Moody the tragic story of the death of baby Harmony.


Duane Moody, Reporting

On the morning of Friday, November twenty-ninth, a beautiful baby girl was born to Reina Gomez and Luis Burgos—their third child.  But approximately sixteen hours and twenty-minutes later, Harmony Burgos, died after experiencing complications at the Northern Regional Hospital. The pregnancy was forty-one weeks, already overdue, but the family was certain that the baby was normal.


Luis Burgos

Luis Burgos, Father of Deceased Baby

“We did everything that we could for our daughter. We did allt he appropriate ultrasounds, hospital visitations. And up to that point, about one week before, the doctor prescribed for a bio-physical profile which he needed to see if the baby was okay since her time was apparently over. And that proved excellent—eight out of eight. So we were very confident there was nothing wrong. So we weren’t expecting—like if we had indications that the baby was going to be born with brain damage; it is expected—this wasn’t the case. The baby was normal, perfect; she just needed to come out before her time.”


But after over twenty hours of labor and despite complains that something was wrong with the birthing process, baby Harmony was not delivered until around eight a.m. the following day. By that time, the baby was so stressed that she suffered severe meconium aspiration syndrome.


Luis Burgos

“About twelve midnight, she was feeling that harsher pains, very strong pains and it was maternal instinct and she knew that something was wrong—the baby was telling her that it was time to come out. It was apparent that the baby had passed her time and she needed to come out; she needed to be removed. I guess through that process, the baby was fighting for her life; she was fighting for oxygen. And since they did not make that decision to remove the baby through a C-section, this is what happened; this is why the baby succumbed to that fecal waste. Her lungs were too polluted with that and there was very little that could be done after that. They were performing a lot of respiration attempts for the baby because the baby wasn’t breathing. So they had to do it manually with a bag, squeezing a bag and at the same time they had to take out that tube and put on a suction tube. I guess at that time the baby doesn’t have air so they have to remove that tube and commence the breathing. So it was a back and forth process. They showed me a bag of fecal matter that they had removed from her lungs. She had ingested all that fecal matter into her lungs. They told me that they had to take her to the K.H.M.H. immediately. The doctor there showed me an x-ray and the x-ray was almost white and they told me an x-ray would normally show the lungs black because air appears dark. So a healthy lung I guess would appear dark, but this wasn’t the case with our daughter; her lungs had a lot of waste liquid.”


The baby was rushed to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital after ten on Friday morning and just after midnight, baby Harmony died while receiving treatment.


Luis Burgos

“When I reached at the K.H.M.H., a personnel lady there told me that the baby was very critical stage and she couldn’t breathe on her own; they had to put her on I think it is life support machine. She needed to do the breathing on her own because there’s only so much that the machine can do for you.”


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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6 Responses for “Baby Harmony dies less than 24 hours after birth”

  1. Storm says:

    GOB needs to close the Northern Regional Slaughterhouse, at least for maternity, until credible physicians can identify why women and babies are butchered there, and correct the problem.

    Let’s NAME the doctors whose patients are dying, so people can chose to avoid them, and perhaps save the lives of their children and wives.

    People of Belize, it’s well past time to boycott this pathetic excuse for a hospital, and work collectively to force change.

  2. sue29 says:

    I agree…. all health workers and public needs to step up and have a go slow in order for the deaf PM to take action, maybe this way something will get done about these poor management in the Ministry of health.

  3. Nimbo says:

    People of OW should stand up and force all the doctors and nurses out of the hospital till they can be replaced by professionals. Do not wait for the PM to do it. He and his wife can afford to go to Miami but we cannot get competent and professional services at our hospitals here.

    The deputy PM is area rep for OW but he is just as arrogant like Judas Barrow.

  4. James Smythe says:

    Many times we have heard health care workers voiced their concerns and displeasure with management and administration of different hospitals and written complaints have been forwarded but same have been futile.Now,Belizeans have become guinea pigs as foreign Doctors are allowed to practice medicine in our country with little or no experience and they need only to present a certificate VERIFYING they have become one and ooops they start practicing with our ppl.
    Our Minister of health needs to have a degree in medicine so that he is able to liaise with drs and nursing staff and other pertinent medical personnel.
    Let’s take our fellow Belizeans health seriously they deserve the best our health system has to offer not everyone can afford Private hospitals or to go abroad for specialist care
    Yes, publish the doctors name.

  5. Artful says:

    What are the people of OW waiting for??? Burn down that cemetery down!

  6. Young Gial says:

    Where is the mother of this child? Why doesn’t the news interview this lady so that it gives a face to the suffering of the women in Belize?

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